HCSO gives away free Thanksgiving meals, hope


They're out on the streets to serve and protect, but on this day, serving was the only job for a group of Harris County deputies and volunteers.

"There are so many underprivileged children. All of them are being fed for the Thanksgiving holidays," said Beck Moon, alumnus of the Citizen Police Academy.

Deputies, Citizen Police Academy alumni and other groups teamed up Saturday for their annual Operation: Food Basket giveaway.

The program began 10 years ago when a deputy received a call from a teacher who was worried about her needy student. From that moment on, the sheriff's office has partnered with teachers in the east Aldine area to identify families that are struggling and bring them some hope during the holidays.

Each year, the list grows longer. It started with five families. This year, it was 55.

And at this giveaway, everyone receives something.

"The reward that I receive is knowing that another child is not going to go unfed," Moon said.

Volunteers say making a difference is a huge gift to them.

"There was a lady older lady and she had five kids," volunteer Cheyanne Velez said. "She gave me a hug before she left. I helped load the food up in her trunk [and she] started crying and she told me thank you."

Recipients say this one act of generosity changes their entire year.

"It's like being in Heaven for me," basket recipient Amy Johnson said. "Except with my kids and my husband."

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