Raul Jimenez Thanksgiving Dinner preps enter home stretch

Chefs, volunteers preparing holiday meal for 25,000

For students at Roosevelt High School’s Engineering Technology Academy, the Thanksgiving holiday break includes more than just kicking back and relaxing with their families.

They volunteer to help at the Raul Jimenez Thanksgiving Dinner.

“It helps our students learn how it is to give back," said academy Director Bill Sturgis. “It makes them feel good.”

It also helps make the annual dinner -- in which the Raul Jimenez family and corporate sponsors provide a Thanksgiving Day feast for anyone in need -- a success.

The late businessman Raul Jimenez started the tradition 34 years ago.

Jimenez’ daughter, Patricia Jimenez, has kept it going since his death several years ago. Corporate sponsors and volunteers, she said, are the dinner’s lifeblood.

“We have all kinds of groups, civic organizations and churches coming to help us,” said Jimenez. “We end up with over 4,000 volunteers from beginning to end.”

Many of the groups who show up make it an annual event.

Sturgis has been bringing students to the dinner for 11 years.

“It’s one of the things I look forward to every Thanksgiving,” he said.

The doors open for the dinner at 9 a.m. Thursday with serving beginning at 11 a.m. Aside from a traditional meal, guests are treated to a variety of entertainment.

For a list of recent stories Paul Venema has done, click here.

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