Local couple provides Thanksgiving meal for shelter

Jerrie Whiteley
Herald Democrat
Heather and Jason Godwin ready to deliver Thanksgiving goodies to the Texoma Family Shelter at a previous Thanksgiving dinner.

For many people, the upcoming holiday is about gathering around the table with family and friends to give thanks for many blessings in life. Heather and Jason Godwin, of Van Alstyne, think that should be true at the Texoma Family Shelter as well.

For the past several years, the couple who own the Kennels on Farmington Road have helped to organize, prepare and serve a Thanksgiving meal at the shelter that feeds not only its residents but the homeless and others throughout the city. 

That meal will be served from 1-4 p.m. at the shelter on Thanksgiving Day and meals, and take out containers will be provided for people who are not residents of the shelter.

"We've been lucky enough to have really big families and always had a big Thanksgivings and I just want to give that back because there are families there (at the shelter and in the homeless camps) with kids so we want to try to make it almost feel like home, like at our house with a bunch of tables and everybody eating and talking together," Heather Godwin said in a phone interview this week.

To go containers being filled at a previous Thanksgiving meal organized by the Godwins for Texoma Family Shelter.

"If you're homeless and you to just fight to survive everyday, it's nice to have one day when you can just chill out and enjoy people around you," she added.

The tradition started with the Godwins preparing dinner for the shelter residents a few times. After doing that, the pair decided that the holiday dinner was something they could tackle and make really special for those at the shelter.

A table full of Thanksgiving goodies at a previous dinner organized by the Godwins for the Texoma Family Shelter.

"It is everything to the shelter for them to do it," Texoma Family Shelter Volunteer Coordinator Rosaline Hendricks said. "They bring everything including volunteers. It just couldn't mean anymore to us."

Heather Godwin was quick to point out that the couple doesn't do it alone. The traditional meal that will be served to around 300 people comes from the hearts of lots of people throughout the community who make side dishes and turkeys and either take them to the shelter or drop off with the Godwins. People volunteer to bring everything from desserts to containers for the to-go portions to cups and napkins. 

A line of the food offered to residents at the Texoma Family Shelter at past Thanksgiving meals organized by the Godwins.

"We have a great little group of people who help us every year," Heather Godwin said.

Those folks are the ones that spread the word about what is needed on social media and help track who is providing what to make sure everything is provided without too many duplicates.

The end result, she said, is a massive meal meant to feed for more than one sitting.

"We like to over load them with food so they have plenty of leftovers and also so that we can make those to go containers for walk-ups and others," she said. "I think we will continue to do this every year if they will have us."

Jason Godwin is from the Van Alstyne and the Sherman area and is part of the family that owns City Limits in Sherman. He went to a dog training school in Houston. Heather Godwin grew up in Durant, Oklahoma and went to college at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

"We met (by) me working at City Limits," she said.