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Thankgiving cheer abounds in PA Saturday

 

The holiday season officially started Saturday in Port Arthur where about 900 families participated in the 6th Annual Thanksgiving Basket Giveaway.

The families came from all over the Golden Triangle to enjoy a turkey meal with all the trimmings, and to get a second Thanksgiving meal — this one uncooked — to take home.

Sponsored by Everlasting Changes, a non-profit founded in 2008 by Elizabeth Cravens, the event continues to grow each year and help more families. Cravens’ company, Mid America Contractors LLC is the main contributor for the food giveaway, though others help.

This year more than 130 volunteers assisted in the food giveaway, and about 2,000 meals were served to the 900 or so families in attendance.

Those families participating were selected based on income levels.

“We were looking for the less fortunate,” Cravens said. “I am in awe to see all these people.”

The families were selected from 36 school participating schools, as well as nursing homes and shelters.

Kathy Hill, 53, of Vidor, attended for the first time along with her daughter, her cousin, and her cousin’s boyfriend.

“This is very nice. We got a basket of food, and a turkey to take home, and had this delicious meal already cooked,” Hill said.

Saturday morning rains did not stop her from driving to Port Arthur.

“It was worth the drive,” Hill said. “There are some very religious people here. We had a girl pray with us here, and I’ve seen some co-workers. It’s been just a real nice event.”

Saturday was also a first time for Kenneth Haley, 61, of Port Arthur.

Haley was among the many volunteers who helped make the event run smoothly.

Helping all those in need made it seem like the holidays had arrived, Haley said.

“It has certainly helped me find my holiday groove,” he said. “I’m feeling the giving today.”

Latrina Burton, 37, came from Beaumont with her husband, the couple’s three children, and her father-in-law.

“We heard about this from friends,” she said while the family enjoyed their holiday meal.

Next stop: picking up the turkey and food basket, which would find its way to Burton’s mother-in-law’s house.

“My mother-in-law is going to cook the turkey. They don’t let me do it because the first time I tried to cook a turkey I cooked it with everything in it. I didn’t know you were supposed to take the all that stuff out,” she said.

E-mail: skoonce@panews.com