volunteers in hatsWe’re constantly amazed by how generous our donors are at AIDS Services of Austin. Many of our programs wouldn’t run the way they do without the donations and support we receive. One specific example is the heart-warming donation one anonymous donor has made year after year.

The last few Thanksgivings, there has been a generous supporter making sure that our Helping Hands Food Bank clients are able to celebrate with their own turkeys. In the beginning of November, the Helping Hands team checked how many clients need a turkey, along with other traditional dishes, for the holiday. Then the Food Bank goes out of their way to provide stuffing, corn bread, cranberry sauce, sugary yams, and green bean options so the clients can make their meals as big and festive as possible.

photoWhen clients arrive, they fill out a standard menu, but this week the menu contains special bold items just for the holiday. Julie Falchuk, Food Bank Manager, also added her own personal holiday wish at the bottom of the form. One client summed up the whole experience for us: “The people here are my family – they even grocery shop for me!”

Last Wednesday, the Food Bank saw over 60 clients in just the first hour: a new record! While many people came excited to receive their turkey, for some, it was a complete surprise. In the end, each and every client who came through the doors was able to take home a turkey for their very own holiday meal.

DSCN2932“Having volunteered in the Food Bank the past few weeks, I’ve been blown away by the relationships the clients have with the volunteers,” Ashley Hernandez, ASA Data Entry Clerk, said. “We depend on our volunteers to provide logistical support, but clients can depend on our volunteers to provide a listening ear or some humor, even something a simple as a smile that they may not get on a daily basis.”

DSCN2938The spirit of the season has already started spreading through the agency. Clients have told us, “[the Food Bank] has a festive feeling. There are great volunteers with great smiles.” One of our clients, who’s been with us since 2002, shared, “I love the Food Bank. It helps me out so much.”

In addition to the healthy and delicious food, ASA also provides clients with delicious recipes so they can ensure each person has a great holiday. If you’re interested in volunteering during the holiday season or donating, check out the “Get Involved” page on ASA’s website.