PHARR, Texas – Vanguard Academy has distributed over 1,000 Thanksgiving meals to residents in its catchment area.

The charter school covers the communities of Pharr, San Juan, Alamo, Edinburg and McAllen. 

On order to receive their turkeys, mashed potatoes and canned vegetables, local residents had to line up early in the morning at the school’s headquarters on Kelly Avenue in Pharr. The lines started getting long at around 4:30 a.m., a member of the grounds staff said, in a text message to Vanguard Superintendent Narciso Garcia. 

“We did not have a problem letting people know about the operation. The lines started around 4:30. I got a text around this time to say, hey, the line is already at the stadium. A lot of people are in need right now,” Garcia said.

Asked why Vanguard did it, Garcia said: “A lot of people are hurting and this is a great way to bless the families. This is about giving back to our Vanguard family and community. We are providing each family with a turkey and a bag of vegetables, mashed potatoes, and canned goods for their Thanksgiving Dinner. We had around 1,056 to 1,064 turkeys so we blessed over a thousand families.”

The donation was not limited to families with children at Vanguard. Anyone living in the community was able to take advantage of the offer. Asked if this was the first time Vanguard had mounted such an operation, Garcia said:

“We did this last year to bless only the most needy of families within Vanguard Academy and we did it to bless the non-exempt staff of Vanguard Academy. But in the summer we also did a food distribution here for Vanguard Academy families and we blessed about 2,500 families during the height of the pandemic.”

Garcia said the Vanguard family believes the gesture is a way to give back to a community that has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

“This year it is more powerful and more meaningful and the bottom line is we want to show our community that, just because of all the unrest that is going on, the love of Christ, the love of God, is still strong. By distributing these Thanksgiving turkeys and meals to our families, it shows them that the same love that God shows us, we show to the people in our community.”

Garcia said he felt it only fair to help all families in the community, not just those with a direct connection to Vanguard.

“They live in our Vanguard Academy community, whether it is Pharr, San Juan, Alamo, Edinburg, or McAllen. It does not matter, we are still blessing the families. It is just the right thing to do, especially right now during this difficult and uncertain time. Obviously, the pandemic is still here, right, but at the same time people have lost their jobs and we want to make sure we put some food on the table for them.”

Asked for any wrap-up remarks, Garcia said: “Love God, love others. That is what we are trying to show.”

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