The holiday season festivities have kicked in, but things are not the same for victims of devastating hurricanes.
As much as they are reminded of a stronger community that they live in, things and people lost in the disaster will always tick them as a reminder.
Although it has been months since the hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria ravaged Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and other areas of the Caribbean, many of the victims are still displaced and have not returned home.
In order to make sure the hundreds of people still have a place to celebrate Thanksgiving, several volunteers, chefs, business owners and good Samaritans are making them feel at home away from home.
Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, the Gallery Furniture owner in Houston, hosted a Thanksgiving dinner and served hundreds of Texans for free. He also opened his furniture stores’ doors after Hurricane Harvey forced hundreds of people to leave their homes.
“We’re planning on feeding between 15,000 and 20,000 people here tomorrow. It’s going to be a beautiful, sunny day in Houston. The only requirement to come in is you’ve got to have a good appetite,” he said.
The Thanksgiving Feast is well underway at Gallery Furniture in Houston, Texas. Mattress Mack says it's part of the healing process after #HurricaneHarvey. Follow "abc13houston" on @Snapchat for behind the scenes updates. #ABC13 #hounews pic.twitter.com/NrVyc5hjLl— Steve Campion (@SteveABC13) November 23, 2017
Celebrity chef Jose Andrés also followed suit and, with the help of volunteers, prepared and packaged a Thanksgiving meal for around 40,000 Puerto Ricans. The chef played his part during the disaster and served hundreds of thousands of meals to people on the island.
Andrés also runs a charitable organization, World Central Kitchen, that reportedly provided food to more victims than any other single agency.
Several other victims celebrated Thanksgiving with the help of their neighbors.
Go team!! Today we cooked and delivered 6,744 full turkey dinners from one #ChefsForPuertoRico kitchen.. as we gear up to prepare for and serve 40,000 who need and deserve a hot meal this Thanksgiving. We could not & would not do this without all of you. Thank you..???? #PRStrong pic.twitter.com/6SgHgWi8L0— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) November 22, 2017
Miami-Dade Schools Police Chief Ian Moffett delivered food to a family who relocated to Florida from Puerto Rico after Hurricane Irma.
Mike Hixenbaugh, a Houston Chronicle reporter, also shared a picture having dinner with a couple that moved to their suite after Harvey.
“I suspect many, many people share similar stories. I wish their house hadn’t flooded, but I’m thankful Harvey brought them into our lives,” he added.
Here's bit of thanksgiving in post-Harvey Houston. I suspect many, many people share similar stories. Reply with yours. pic.twitter.com/3KS0hc0wP3— Mike Hixenbaugh (@Mike_Hixenbaugh) November 23, 2017
Best Western Inn in Pearland also planned a dinner for 18 victims of the hurricane.
“Even though we’ve grown to be a town of more than 100,000 people, I still know a lot of people here, and this town has supported me. And if I can support the people, I’m just doing my part,” said Manhar Das, the general manager of the hotel.
Das further said, “They’re my hotel family,” SanJuanita Garza, who’s been sheltering at the hotel with four family members, told the outlet. “I’m going to keep them forever.”
Banner/Thumbnail: Reuters, Eduardo Munoz