HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away and hundreds of families are feeling more prepared and breathing a sigh of relief after lining up early Saturday morning in order to receive a free frozen turkey.
One-thousand turkeys were given away at Aldine ISD's Davis High School from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday.
Equality Health Foundation partnered with the school district and others to host the turkey giveaway. The nonprofit organization said in a press release that they aim to level the healthcare playing field in culturally diverse and underserved communities.
"Locking arms to serve neighborhoods significantly impacted by the pandemic in the Aldine Independent School District is more crucial than ever," Tomás León, Equality Health Foundation president, said. "Our goal is to reach even more families this year and contribute to building healthy and thriving communities."
"People need turkeys and not just the turkey, but what they need is they need a sense of family, and they want to connect with each other, so it's a blessing," explained Martha Escalante, the executive director of Family and Community Engagement for Aldine ISD.
The line for free turkey started forming hours ahead of time.
"At 5 this morning, I was ready," Beatrice Ward explained.
Ward was first in line. She said her daughter and grandbabies were the reason she woke up early to make sure she got a turkey.
"I wanted to truly spend time with my daughter that's having a difficult pregnancy right now and cook for her and her babies," Ward said.
She's looking forward to a Thanksgiving meal that she said she otherwise couldn't afford to make. She says she is grateful for the help.
"I saw the prices when they first put out the turkeys in the stores and it's so high," Ward said.
Others who showed up feel the same struggle.
"With the economy right now, we weren't able to afford a turkey this year. So, we've been here since early this morning," Salvador Moreno explained.
Inflation is currently at 7.7% and the cost of food at home is up more than 12% since this time last year. According to the USDA, turkey was forecast to be 23% more expensive this year.
"It's going to be very difficult this year for my family to make sure that we have Thanksgiving on the table," Deedra Kupolati said.
The financial strain makes help like this even more meaningful.
"Wow, it will save me so much," Ward said.
For more information on the 2nd Healthy Fall Festival, visit Equality Health Foundation's website.