Even after losing power, Whataburger serves free meals in hurricane-ravaged Rockport

Hurricane Harvey may have knocked the power out of Whataburger’s Rockport location, but that won’t stop staff from serving free hot meals to anyone who needs them as the city works to get back on its feet. On Sunday, cars lined up along Highway 35 North in front of the restaurant, which used a generator to turn out burgers and fries for throngs of hungry customers.

“(We’re) just making sure that these people are fed, that they’ve got some good food and hot meals,” said Whataburger CEO Preston Atkinson, who was on site in Rockport on Sunday to lend a hand. “We’re just doing what we can to get people back up and going again.”

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Whataburger employees Juliet Lopez and Loraine Black bag free meals for residents and workers in Rockport, Texas, on Sunday. Kristin Finan/American-Statesman

Between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m on Sunday, customers received a No. 1 Whataburger meal consisting of a burger, fries and a drink. Atkinson said serving free meals in Rockport was a no-brainer for the Corpus Christi-born company.

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“We’ve been here for a long time and these folks have been supporting this business for many, many years,” he said. “We just want to do what we can to serve them.”

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Employees serve free hamburgers, fries and drinks to hungry customers at the Whataburger location in Rockport, Texas. Kristin Finan/American-Statesman

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Whataburger plans to offer free meals again Monday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Rockport location, while supplies last.

“The rest of the week, we just don’t know yet,” Atkinson said. “We’re working on generator power and trying to get supplies in.”

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Throughout the day on Sunday, customers, many of whom were still grappling with the devastating impact of Hurricane Harvey on their small coastal town, paused to thank Whataburger employees. Atkinson said he wishes he could do more.

“People are dealing with a lot of dramatic situations, and our heart just goes out to all of them for what they’re having to go through,” he said. “This is just a little token of our appreciation.”

 

 


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