IMG_6880Tania Jess joined her husband and daughter to volunteer at Rackspace Saturday morning to give away turkeys and food boxes.

It’s an annual family tradition.

They waited for a line of cars to come through their stations in the parking lot at Rackspace’s headquarters and then they loaded up each car with a turkey and box of food for Thanksgiving.

The wind whipped across the parking lot playing havoc with some of the Rackspace tents, but the sunshine kept everyone in high spirits. Many car drivers honked their horns, people waved and some rolled down their car windows to give high fives to the volunteers and to say thank you and happy thanksgiving as they drove through the line.

A DJ kept the music upbeat and a few people dressed in turkey costumes danced around.

Cara Nichols, community affairs director for Rackspace, at Rackspace's Thanksgiving Day food distribution event.

Cara Nichols, community affairs director for Rackspace, at Rackspace’s Thanksgiving Day food distribution event.

It’s all part of Rackspace partnering with the San Antonio Food Bank in Rackspace’s ninth annual Fill a Box, Feed a Family Thanksgiving Food Drive. This year, Rackspace gave away 1,850 turkeys and bags of food locally. It’s the largest food distribution event in San Antonio, said Erika Borrego, chief operating officer with the San Antonio Food Bank.

“We are pleased to partner with Rackspace to make sure all the families on this side of the city get fed,” Borrego said.

The cars began lining up before 6:30 a.m. Saturday at Rackspace’s headquarters. And Rackspace began distributing the food at 9 a.m. By 11:30 a.m., the organizers and volunteers had served 750 families with a few hours to go, Borrego said.

Each family received a Butterball turkey, ranging from 10 pounds to 16 pounds, a box of food with canned veggies, yams, piecrust, pie mix and a bag of fresh produce.

The turkey and food box gives families the opportunity to have memories together during the holiday, Borrego said.

Overall, the San Antonio Food Bank plans to give away 10,000 to 15,000 turkeys throughout San Antonio, Borrego said. It’s still seeking turkeys and monetary donations, she said. The Food Bank serves 58,000 individuals every week.

Rackspace is giving away 2,500 turkeys and food boxes across all of its offices nationwide, said Cara Nichols, community affairs director for Rackspace and president of its foundation. Rackspace works with family specialists at each of its adopted schools in its neighborhood to identify the families in need. Each family receives a voucher to bring to the event to redeem for the turkey and food items.

“It is bigger every year,” Nichols said. “The schools are much more integrated into the event this year. We have teachers helping us, family specialists…when the students drive through and see familiar faces it just makes what could be a humbling experience into a very fun, exciting activity for the whole family. It just fills people with so much joy to come through.”

More than 400 Rackspace employees, known as Rackers, volunteered to make the event possible, Nichols said. Rackspace started planning for the Thanksgiving holiday event in May, she said.

Rackspace buys the turkeys and Rackspace employees donate money and food to fill the boxes that make up the meal. Some families take a box, decorate it, fill it up and donate it, Nichols said.

“The energy is always the same. The Rackers always bring their A game, their positive attitudes and their spirit and we appreciate that,” Borrego said.