As they’ve been doing for 33 years, San Antonians by the thousands flocked to the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center for a Thanksgiving Day feast Thursday.
The Raul Jimenez Thanksgiving Dinner, which features the traditional fare of turkey and all the trimmings, is free.
It began in 1979, when local businessman Raul Jimenez offered a Thanksgiving Dinner to the homeless and elderly and to anyone else with nowhere to go on the holiday.
After Jimenez’s death his family, with the help of corporate sponsors, kept up the tradition.
“He would be so excited because his goal was always to help more people and feed more people,” said his daughter Patricia Jimenez. “He thought that no one should be hungry on Thanksgiving Day.”
Jimenez said that in addition to the corporate help, volunteers are a big reason the dinner is a success each year.
“There has never been a shortage of people willing to help,” she said. “This year, we set a record by signing up 4,000 volunteers in a day and a half.”
An estimated 25,000 people attended this year’s dinner.