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Is City Of Houston Charging Too Much For Annual Super Feast?

Organizers of the 40th annual Thanksgiving Super Feast say they feel treated unfairly.



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For the past four decades, the Super Feast has fed the hungry on Thanksgiving and Christmas – about 20,000 people per event.

For most of that time, it's been held at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

The organization in charge of the Super Feast is City Wide Club.

Its executive director Leroy Woodard says he's not happy with how the city's government corporation has been charging them to use the venue.

"After 40 years of feeding the city you would think that Houston First or whoever is in charge of convention venues should say, listen, we're just going to comp this, because they are feeding the city of Houston."

He said the rental fee has gone up every few years, and this year, Houston First wanted to charge $5,000 for each of the two feasts.

Woodard said he was able to push the rate down to $3,500.

He also said Houston First wanted to charge for the use of chairs and tables, a claim the government corporation denies.

Houston First's director of communications, Carolyn Campbell, said raising the rental fee is not unusual and it's only a fraction of the total value Houston First provides.

Chief marketing officer Holly Clapham-Rosenow said the combined in-kind value of holding the Thanksgiving and Christmas Super Feasts at the GRB is more than $30,000.

She also stressed Houston First is committed to the annual event.

"I don't think it will ever be a topic discussion or deliberation to charge them for the services we've provided for free for so long," she said. "Because the event helps our community, our neighbors."

Woodard said either way, City Wide Club is in need of donations – monetary, food or otherwise – for both the Thanksgiving and Christmas events. Those who want to contribute can go to their website or call 713-752-CLUB (2582).

Update: On Wednesday morning, Houston First sent News 88.7 the following statement:

City Wide Club of Clubs (CWCC) signed a contract for rental of the George R. Brown Convention Center in September of this year, as it has done for decades.

As manager of the city-owned GRB, Houston First is proud to again sponsor the Super Feast with City Wide, which includes waiving more than $30 thousand dollars each year to help cover the costs of the event.

We value the relationship and we appreciate the incredible job that CWCC does along with the many dedicated volunteers and supporters who offer their time and donations to help the thousands of homeless and underserved people in our community during the holiday season.