Fajitas 101: Food booth funds millions in education

SAN ANTONIO – Over the last 30 years the Fajita Corral has been feeding hungry rodeo-goers some of the best fajitas this side of the Mississippi. As a result, students have been able to advance their education.

The Corral was opened in 1986 by the Van De Walle family. They had a line of picante sauce and were coming out with marinade. The president of the rodeo at the time, Mary Nan West, offered them a chance to showcase their products on the rodeo grounds. But there was a catch. They had to donate all their proceeds to the newly formed scholarship program.

"When this opportunity came up we said 'Heck, yea'," said Elaine Van De Walle Thompson.

Van De Walle Thompson and her brother, Chris Va De Walle, got to cooking.

Working out of a 12x12 building and with the help of family volunteers they were able to donate $21,000 their first year.

Over the years, volunteers from around the community have assisted in serving fajitas, upwards of 1,000 people now help cook and serve the food.

"They are here from morning until 10 o'clock at night, rain or shine. It doesn't matter. They are here," Van De Walle Thompson said.

While the volunteer number has increased, so too has the amount of money donated. This year the Van De Walle's should reach the $3 million dollar donation mark, all for education.

"Especially this day and time without education you can't get anywhere," Van De Walle Thompson said. "It pays dividends in a child’s education, and character."

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