H-E-B Center at Cedar Park to be local hub for free meal deliveries on Thanksgiving

Brandon and Lizzy Simon, seen with their napping one-year-old daughter, Madlen, will serve as volunteer managers for Operation Turkey at the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park on Thanksgiving Day. The nonprofit, which started in Austin in 2000, will be delivering free turkey dinners—no questions asked—to Cedar Park, Leander and surrounding areas Nov. 28.
Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper
Brandon and Lizzy Simon, seen with their napping one-year-old daughter, Madlen, will serve as volunteer managers for Operation Turkey at the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park on Thanksgiving Day. The nonprofit, which started in Austin in 2000, will be delivering free turkey dinners—no questions asked—to Cedar Park, Leander and surrounding areas Nov. 28. Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper

Brandon and Lizzy Simon, seen with their napping one-year-old daughter, Madlen, will serve as volunteer managers for Operation Turkey at the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park on Thanksgiving Day. The nonprofit, which started in Austin in 2000, will be delivering free turkey dinners—no questions asked—to Cedar Park, Leander and surrounding areas Nov. 28. Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper

Image description
Image description
On Thanksgiving Day, H-E-B Center at Cedar Park will transform from an entertainment venue to a community service hub.

From 8-11 a.m., volunteers from Operation Turkey will be preparing and delivering Thanksgiving dinners at the center to homes and businesses from Liberty Hill to Taylor.

This marks the second year that Round Rock residents Brandon and Lizzy Simon have been volunteer managers at the Cedar Park hub—one of four in the Austin area—for the nonprofit.

What cities does the Cedar Park location of Operation Turkey serve?

Lizzy
: We do Cedar Park, Leander, Round Rock, Hutto, Taylor, Georgetown, Liberty Hill—we kind of do a [east-west] stretch.


How does Operation Turkey prepare so many meals?

Lizzy: The day before [Thanksgiving], a lot of the food is cooked. All the turkeys are smoked, and all the Austin locations do a “Turkey Tailgate” at Third Base in [Northwest] Austin. They do a big tailgating party and smoke all the turkeys and cook some of the food there.

What’s in the meal?

Lizzy
: Smoked turkey, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, yams, cranberry sauce and pie. ... We also can provide side dishes only [for vegetarians].

How can someone volunteer?

Brandon
: Just show up [at H-E-B Center]. The volunteers start lining up at about 8 a.m. ... [Lizzy] normally handles the inside, and I handle the traffic and craziness outside, and we ask who wants to help us cook, who wants to oversee kids decorating to-go boxes or who wants to help me start roping off lines. As the volunteers come in, we just give them a job.

How are the meals distributed?

Lizzy
: We have set locations that we take [online] meal requests out for, such as, 'Here’s an address. They want three meals.' And then some of the meals are, 'Go find people, go on the streets' ... or, 'If you know someone who needs a meal, take it to them.'

Brandon: The three Austin locations are a little more need-based. In Cedar Park, we don’t have that as much, so we go out to [senior] homes and anyone who may be working on that day, from first responders to Walmart workers, and hand out meals.

Who is eligible for a free meal?

Lizzy
: We don’t screen. Anyone who needs help, we’re willing to help.

How did you two get involved with Operation Turkey?

Lizzy
: We were looking for some service to do. We have three kids at home. We wanted something we could do with them. There’s not a lot of stuff that you can do on Thanksgiving that involves kids. Operation Turkey said, 'You can volunteer however you want: You can drive; you can come do food; the kids [can] come in and do turkey hand-prints on the plates.'

Brandon: Kids get to help. All the to-go boxes are decorated by kids.

What if someone can’t volunteer on Thanksgiving but wants to help?

Lizzy
: Thursday may be harder to volunteer for some, but the Turkey Tailgate starts at 6 a.m. and goes to 11 p.m. [Wednesday at Third Base in Northwest Austin]. It’s just a fun crowd. ... There they also do donations for clothes and sanitation kits. Volunteers can come and help put those together too. ... Online, they can make a monetary donation.
By Brian Perdue
Brian Perdue is the editor of the Cedar Park-Leander edition of Community Impact Newspaper. A native of Virginia's Appalachian Mountains, he has been a journalist since 1992, living and working in Virginia, Washington D.C., Hawaii's Big Island, Southern California and Florida before moving to Austin in 2019.


MOST RECENT

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, shown here in March, announced July 13 the U.S. Department of Defense would provide additional resource to help Texas combat COVID-19. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Department of Defense task forces deployed to help Texas combat COVID-19

Gov. Greg Abbott announced July 13 the U.S. Department of Defense would provide more resources to Texas to combat the rise of COVID-19.

clinic
Family First Express Care clinic now open in Leander

The Leander urgent care clinic opened July 13.

More than 20,000 early voting ballots cast in Williamson County primary runoff election. (Community Impact staff)
More than 20,000 early voting ballots cast in Williamson County primary runoff election

Check out where you can vote on election day with our interactive map.

mannix
Former Cedar Park Police Chief Sean Mannix withdraws from Burnet chief position

Burnet City Manager David Vaughn confirmed Mannix's withdrawal on July 13.

Travis County has added 3,069 new confirmed cases over the past week from July 6-12. (Community Impact Staff)
Travis County adds 3,069 new coronavirus cases over past week

Travis County has added 3,069 new confirmed cases over the past week from July 6-12.

A sign directs voters inside Ridgetop Elementary School in North Central Austin. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
11.8% of voters in Travis County have voted early since June 29, exceeding 2018 primary numbers

More than 97,000 Travis County residents have voted in person or by mail. The turnout far surpassed the combined early and Election Day totals in the 2018 primary run-off election.

A photo of the potential Tesla property
Travis County updates Tesla incentive package, pushing for $1 billion-plus investment from the company

Poised for a possible July 13 vote, Travis County has released a refined incentives structure proposal with electric carmaker Tesla.

The Williamson County and Cities Health District confirmed 37 additional coronavirus cases July 10, bringing the total to 3,654. (Community Impact Staff)
37 new cases of coronavirus, 1 death confirmed in Williamson County on July 10

Currently, 103 patients are hospitalized, 32 are in intensive care and 16 are on a ventilator.

The species that tested positive for West Nile Virus is Culex quinquefasciatus, or the southern house mosquito. This species has a flight range of about one mile. ​(Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Mosquitoes test positive for West Nile Virus near southwest Williamson County Regional Park

There have been no reported human cases of West Nile Virus in Williamson County since 2017.

Williamson County sees 844 new coronavirus cases this week

Between July 4 and July 10, Williamson County also reported 9 additional deaths.

Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath announced in a June 30 State Board of Education meeting that students will be taking the STAAR in the 2020-21 school year. (Courtesy Pixabay)
Education organizations call for STAAR requirements to be waived another year

Gov. Greg Abbott waived the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, testing requirements in March of earlier this year in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

With a clinical background in internal, pulmonary and critical care medicine, Corry has been with BCM for 20 years. He now focuses primarily on inflammatory lung diseases, such as asthma and smoking-related chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. (Graphic by Ronald Winters/Community Impact Newspaper)
Q&A: Baylor College of Medicine's Dr. David Corry discusses immunity, vaccine production amid COVID-19 pandemic

Rapid development and distribution of a vaccine worldwide and successful achievement of herd immunity will be key players in determining the lifespan of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Dr. David Corry, a professor of Medicine in the Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology Section at Baylor College of Medicine.