(HOUSTON) — Houston’s hometown hero who opened his furniture stores’ doors after Hurricane Harvey is now preparing nearly 100,000 pounds of food to serve at a free Thanksgiving dinner.
“We’re planning on feeding between 15,000 and 20,000 people here tomorrow,” Jim McIngvale, better known as “Mattress Mack,” said Wednesday on Good Morning America. “It’s going to be a beautiful, sunny day in Houston.”
He added of the dinner, which is open to anyone, “The only requirement to come in is you’ve got to have a good appetite.”
The Thanksgiving dinner hosted by McIngvale, 66, comes several months after Hurricane Harvey dumped devastating rainfall and powerful winds on southeastern Texas this summer, leaving much of the Houston area flooded.
McIngvale opened his Gallery Furniture stores during and after Harvey to provide shelter to displaced residents. He also sent Harvey first responders to watch the Houston Texans play in the World Series and has been donating free furniture to residents affected by Harvey.
He said he wanted to host a Thanksgiving dinner to “give thanks that we’ve all made it through Hurricane Harvey.”
“It’s been a tremendous growth period for Houston and we had a lot of hardships with the hurricane, but now we’re coming back,” McIngvale said. “And we want to say ‘thank you’ to the citizens as we get together tomorrow and share Thanksgiving dinner together.”
McIngvale, who will also join Houston’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, has invited 6,000 children in the foster care system to the dinner.
While the dinner is being funded out of McIngvale’s own pocket, he has said previously that some local food vendors have offered to help out with the cooking, and scores of volunteers have also come forward offering to help out with their time.
McIngvale hopes the Thanksgiving meal allows participants a chance to not just give thanks, but also “share relationships.”
“I think people getting together — not on the cellphone, but talking to each other, sharing relationships, meeting new friends — is great,” he said.
The Thanksgiving meal will be held at a Gallery Mart store in Houston and will include food trucks and a separate vendor serving Mexican food.
Here is a breakdown of the food McIngvale and his team are preparing to serve to as many as 20,000 people:
Turkey: 6,000 pounds
Ham: 6,000 pounds
Sweet potatoes: 1,500 pounds
Cornbread dressing: 1,600 pounds
Cranberry sauce: 1,000 pounds
Mashed potatoes: 2,500 pounds
Green beans: 2,500 pounds
Pies: 1,500 pies
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