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Feast of sharing about more than food (video)

By JR Ortega
Dec. 19, 2012 at 6:19 a.m.
Updated Dec. 20, 2012 at 6:20 a.m.

Employees from area H-E-B stores set up the children's area where Santa Claus will be handing out gifts during the Feast of Sharing on Thursday.

Breaking down the meal

• 1,250 pounds of glazed ham

• 1,250 pounds of mashed potatoes

• 1,100 pounds of vegetable medley

• 100 gallons of brown gravy

• 500 pies

• 5,000 dinner rolls and soft drinks

SOURCE: H-E-B news release

H-E-B 22nd annual Feast of Sharing

• WHEN: 3-7 p.m. Thursday

• WHERE: Victoria Community Center, 2905 E. North St.

• FOR INFORMATION OR TO VOLUNTEER: Call 2-1-1

Bill Mosley lets beads of sweat drip down his temple as he holds strong to a slab of plywood.

"Watch out," he calls out, dropping the plywood onto the reddish dirt of the Victoria Community Center arena Wednesday afternoon. The impact triggers a shock wave of dirt from under the plywood.

This scene repeats itself every year during the span of about six weeks, but Mosley would not trade preparing for the H-E-B Feast of Sharing for anything else in the world.

The feast, which will be in its 22nd year on Thursday, comes with glazed ham, mashed potatoes, vegetable medley, plenty of gravy, pies, dinner rolls and of course, soft drinks. Five thousand meals to be exact.

Mosley and his crew of six cooks manage to whip it all up in less than four hours.

"It's crazy," said Mosley, who has been part of the Feast of Sharing for 20 years.

Since 1998, H-E-B has had a mobile kitchen travel to the 32 locations it serves each holiday season. The kitchen has made the process much faster and efficient, but Mosley remembers the days before the mobile unit.

"It went from getting in here at midnight to start cooking, to getting here four hours before the dinner," he said laughing.

It may be hard to believe that it takes fewer than four hours to bring food to the table, but somehow his team pulls it off, he said.

"We're like a tight-knit family," Mosley said of his co-workers, who spend 44 nights on the road together traveling from city to city.

Aside from food preparing, much of the day before the feast is spent preparing the community center for the influx of hungry residents that will not only get a full meal, but live entertainment, said Gus Kroos, chairman of the feast.

The day is spent decorating, setting up chairs and understanding what the 300 to 400 volunteers should expect Thursday.

"It's been very gratifying," Kroos said about the feast. "It's our way of giving back to the community."

Kroos expects about 5,000 people to show up to the feast, though, he, Mosley and the volunteers are prepared to accommodate more.

"I just call the people up and everyone just jumps into action," he said. "It takes a community-wide effort."

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