Accessibility Tools

Skip to main content

Author: Jenni Griffin

Jason’s Story

Between 2017 and 2018, I found myself falling on particularly challenging times. The stresses and difficulties that come with working in the real estate sector had been taking their toll on me. I was at the end of my rope, financially and emotionally.

It was in November of 2017 when the CEO of our Keller Williams Office where I worked, called me into her office. Already in a fragile state, I found myself overwhelmed when she informed me that she had nominated be to receive support from a charity which gave out meals, to help those struggling.

A curious mix of emotions overtook me. At first, I’ll admit, there was this embarrassment- embarrassment at the fact that I was in a place in life where I needed help. But this was so quickly overshadowed by the surprise, gratitude, and joy that I felt upon arriving to accept my meal. This wasn’t about a handout; it wasn’t about need- it was about a group of individuals making a powerful gesture of support and humanity to someone simply working their way through a difficult spot in life.

In September of 2018, I had been handling a serious family crisis, and was planning my exit from the real estate business altogether. I was at the end of my rope, but before I was able to put in my notice, our CEO called me in again.

She recommended that before I make any sort of decision, I make my way over to the Bowen Adams Real Estate Team, to talk things over with Kris Bowen and Rob Adams, the team leaders of the business. I’d walked past their office countless times, but for once, instead of walking past, I went in. A short time after that, I knew I wanted to be part of their team.

A short time later, I learned about the Thanksgiving’s Heroes organization that Rob had started. After my own experiences, I knew it was something I had to be part of. I signed up for my first event, which was a shrimp boil.

I’d been given the rare opportunity to see the other side of what I myself had experienced. I still felt gratitude, for being able to contribute in such a meaningful way. I felt a sense of accomplishment for making an impact and doing something for the good of others. I felt joy at working with incredible and inspirational individuals, and all the new people I’d had the pleasure to meet. It was a remarkable experience.

It wasn’t until this moment that I’d realized I myself had been a grateful recipient of Thanksgiving’s Heroes only one year ago. I could hardly contain the overwhelming emotions that overcame me.

I remembered being so grateful and so appreciative of the kindness of strangers who gathered to provide a Thanksgiving for me, and I’d been blessed with the opportunity to pay it forward myself, without even having fully realized it. I felt honored at the seemingly accidental opportunity.

But I’m not the only one; there are so many people ready and eager and willing to help and do good for others. Rob Adams and Kris Bowen and every other person working so hard to make sure that people and families don’t go hungry, that they have a Thanksgiving on this important holiday. It feeds the body, but it also feeds the soul, and that is certainly what changes lives in a small, but very powerful way.

Why Give? What’s in it for Me?

When Giving to Others Gives Back

As so many inevitably discover, giving to others has the incredible power of being contagious in the best way possible. Whether it’s with your time, your money, or your resources, it’s hard to only give once. We’ve seen just this with those who donate to Thanksgiving’s Heroes. Although giving to others is intended for the benefit of someone other than ourselves, there’s no denying the benefits to ourselves that come with this. Why is this? When we give to others, just what is it we get back?

A Sense of Purpose and Social Belonging

We are social creatures by nature. Many of us want to belong, to be part of something bigger than ourselves. When we offer up our time or our resources, we are actively contributing to the world around us. You transition from being an inactive outsider to being an active contributor to society. Not only does this come with a sense of fulfillment, but it also comes with a sense of belonging.

In a world that often can feel disconnected, we are inherently connected through our actions and contributions. Donating and charity work allow us to become part of something bigger than ourselves. We inherently become part of a community, a community with a common goal that shows us we belong to something and we bring something to the table (sometimes literally, as with Thanksgiving’s Heroes!).

A Healthy Boost- Physically and Mentally

It might be surprising to learn that volunteer work and charitable giving have concrete, positive impacts on our mental health and wellbeing. Specifically, studies have even indicated that this type of involvement can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.

These benefits come as the body responds to increased self-confidence and self-worth, positive and worthwhile social interactions, and boosts in self-motivation. These benefits spill over into other areas of life as well. Some givers even find that they are more motivated to stay physically healthier, as stress, anxiety, and depression are reduced. As a result, the benefits are able to reach both the mind as well as the body.

Feeling Empowered When We are Powerless

During this time more than ever, so many find themselves feeling like what is going on is out of our control. The truth is, it is out of our control. For many, donating or volunteering is one way to take back some control in situations where we feel powerless.

During this pandemic, the inspiring stories of people all across the world have demonstrated just this. We find ourselves in a spiraling situation, where we feel helpless, powerless, and sometimes hopeless. And yet, the most uplifting and hopeful moments of these past few months have come from the stories of people who are trying to find little ways to take some control in midst of the chaos around us.

It might be wealthy celebrities donating millions of dollars to fight the cause, or an average citizen sitting at home for hours a day to donate sewing masks to her community. These types of stories have quickly become not only increasing in frequency, but increasing in necessity.

Now more than ever, those who are struggling need help from others. This is one thing that is in our control- our ability to give our time or our food or our resources or our money to those who need it the most. These are the actions and stories that keep so many of us going while we wait for the light at the end of the tunnel.

Thanksgivings Heroes Roots…

As an eleven-year old boy growing up in South Texas, Thanksgiving’s Heroes, LLC founder, Rob Adams was the oldest child in a family of six. Although he vividly recalls being a happy and loved child, the memories of living out of the family truck in Porter, an unincorporated part of Houston, Texas, are equally strong.

Life in poverty was a challenge for Adams and his family, as it is for many. He had two outfits, one for church and one for school. The family lived together in their pickup truck. Once every few weeks, they would go stay at a motel for a day, taking advantage of the opportunity to get what little clothing they had cleaned. Although life was a challenge, he didn’t think of himself as poor, he just recalled being a happy child living life in a different way than others.

Every year, millions of school children in American rely on public schools to be able to eat lunch. For many of these children, this lunch is their only guaranteed meal of the day. Adams himself was one of these children. For him, school was a blessing, not necessarily for the teachers or the education or the support, but specifically because he knew he would be fed. He knew school was where he’d be guaranteed at least a lunch for the day.

The roots of Thanksgiving’s Heroes are firmly grown from his experiences as a child.

Christmas was just around the corner. South Texas weather had turned cold and chilly. Another family, the Christiansen’s, came to the Adams’ truck, and brought them to their house in Kingwood, Texas, about 12 miles away. Pulling up, Adams could see the picture-perfect house, with wide-open windows revealing a stunning Christmas tree, just like in the movies. The Christiansen’s were leaving for the holidays and offered the Adams family to stay in their house while they were away. They had stocked the fridge, with everything from turkey to pumpkin pie. They’d left presents for Adams and his siblings, with clothing and new socks. They’d left their entire home open to this family, no strings attached. It was this kindness and generosity of spirit that left a mark on Adams.

At eleven years old, Adams knew this was something he wanted to pay forward when he grew up. To be able to replicate such an overwhelming gesture for others was a reward in and of itself.

Years later, Adams found himself dealing with the confronting challenge of facing his mother’s own diagnosis of brain cancer. She reminded him of this dream of his to help other families and wanted to see him follow through on it. This was just the push he needed.

More inspired than ever, Adams reached out to friends, family, local schools, anyone he could get to help on this project. He got it out on social media. He set a goal of feeding ten families that year. His goal was more than met.

That first year, the organization fed 755 families. 755 families receiving twenty-pound turkeys. 755 families taking home ten-pound bags of potatoes. 755 gallons of milk. Each set includes enough food to feed a family of five for days.

The event brought about such a strong sense of community, from friends, strangers, local schools, community members alike, that Adams knew this couldn’t be the only year. It reminded people, in a time when many of us feel so disconnected, that strangers helping strangers is inspiring. That doing good for others is doing good for ourselves. That kindness is the easiest thing to pay forward.

Six years later, the foundation continues strong. With thousands of families fed, to date, Adams feels more inspired than ever to continue the tradition.

You can be a part of this.

Visit our Website

We have reached our family nomination capacity!

We set a goal of feeding 2,500 families and we have hit our goal!

Unfortunately, that means that we are no longer taking family nominations. We realize the need is great and we couldn’t do it without people like you.

Please support us in other ways so we can push for a larger goal next year! We would love to have you join us on the big day to help us sort or deliver the food or a cash donation would be much appreciated.

Thank you!

Thanksgiving’s Heroes