A North Texas tradition that feeds thousands of first responders each Christmas day could be threatened this year because of shortages and increasing food prices.
Feed-a-Hero began 8 years ago when Jeff Searles and his kids dropped off six meals at a Denton fire station.
"We don't get to take those days off if our shift falls on Christmas. You know, we're working Christmas. We miss being with our family. We miss opening up presents with your kids,” said Denton firefighter Jason Ballard.
As a former first responder himself, Searles felt the one thing they should be able to enjoy is a meal.
That’s why each year, with the help of an army of volunteers, Feed-a-Hero has grown to provide more meals to more departments.
This year, the plan is to feed 7,200 firefighters, police officers and EMS workers across 487 departments.
“It’s from Rockwall County all the way out to Parker County, all the way to the Texas state line down to Desoto,” Searles said.
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It’s a mission that requires three tons of brisket.
And with rising prices, Searles said each of those 7,000 plus plates will cost them a few dollars more. So though the group thought their fundraising for the year was complete, they’re shy about $20,000 of their updated goal.
"It hurts my heart if I have to say no, but the reality is there's so much resource-wise. So at some point, if we don't have the resources, we'll have to say no,” he said.
That’s something Feed-a-Hero prides itself on never having done. And Searles is hopeful, with help from the community, they won’t have to.
“The Feed-a-Hero nation always comes together. DFW is awesome in their support for their first responders and they’ve never let us down,” said Searles.
Tomorrow, Feed-a-Hero will host its final fundraiser of the year, the Red and Blue Car/Truck/Bike Show. It gets underway at 10 a.m. at Vandergriff Toyota in Arlington.
To learn more about how to donate or volunteer, visit the Feed-a-Hero website.