Local students donate turkeys to 80 veteran families

A turkey can easily cost more than twenty dollars, and that can be more than some people can afford; some people like veterans who have fallen on hard times.
Published: Nov. 23, 2020 at 10:45 PM CST
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - Giving Tuesday may be tomorrow, but some people give many more days out of the week.

On the receiving end are veterans who can really use the help.

A turkey can easily cost more than $20, and that can be more than some people can afford; some people like veterans who have fallen on hard times.

That’s where St. Augustine High School and Volunteers Serving the Need come in.

“These are the people that put their life on the line so that we can have a life in the first place,” said Hector Agustin Degollado, a St. Augustine senior.

High school students spent their Monday afternoon loading 80 turkeys into a truck.

This will feed 80 veteran families this Thanksgiving.

Raul Gonzalez, who served in Vietnam, is one of them.

“It means a lot because a lot of veterans need help,” Gonzalez said. “Without the help of these people, the students, some of the veterans go without a turkey on Thanksgiving, so it means a lot to us, and we’re grateful for them.”

He continues to serve in other ways by giving his time to Volunteers Serving the Need, which is a nonprofit that helps veterans.

Gigi Ramos is the founder and CEO. She comes from a family of veterans herself, which is what inspired her to help others.

“They really struggle to try to make ends meet,” Ramos said. “They have to choose between medicines, rent, light (bills). How are they going to make it? At least we can give them a full stomach and a happy heart. They get such pleasure out of this that the community is fighting for our Webb County veterans.”

In addition to the turkeys, students, teachers and parents raised $350 in seven days.

“This check means so much. I can’t tell you. This helps me keep the lights on, and it’s such a blessing,” Ramos said. “I can’t tell you what these students mean to me and the principal and teachers.”

Volunteers Serving the Need operates a thrift store off Salinas Avenue in downtown Laredo.

For every $20 someone spends, the organization can provide one veteran with $200 of help.

“When we’re talking about veterans, we’re talking about people who really did give some of the most important years of their lives, not only in their physical but in their emotional and mental health,” Degollado said. “So in times like these, remembering their sacrifice is probably one of the most important things we have to do as citizens of the United States.”

The thrift store will be open this Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. They accept donations and volunteers.

If you’d like to help, you can call 956-717-2960.

St. Augustine High School also donated 75 turkeys to Catholic Charities and 50 to Santa Margarita Mission.

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