Julián Castro and family serve at 40th Annual Raul Jiménez Thanksgiving Dinner

Staff and volunteers work long hours to provide warm meal for less fortunate

SAN ANTONIO – Doors opened early Thanksgiving morning at the Henry B. González Center to kick off the holiday season with a warm meal. For the last 40 years, the Raul Jiménez Thanksgiving Dinner has provided a space for people from all walks of life to come together at the community table. At the forefront are hundreds of volunteers who give their time to keep the Jiménez mission alive.

“This is one of the nicest moments of the entire year in our community where you see the true spirit of Thanksgiving (and) so many people coming to volunteer,” presidential candidate, Julián Castro said.

Castro along with his wife and children joined helped carry trays of Thanksgiving dinners to serve senior citizens and the less fortunate.

“We all have a role to play in making sure that each other is okay and that there are still a lot of Americans in need out there,” Castro said.

Volunteers like Kelli Alston said she’s teaching her children that same lesson.

“The smile on their face and just giving them this opportunity, I hope it is an experience that they can remember for life,” Alston said. “Maybe it’ll be an every-year thing for (my family).”

Alston teaches her three children to serve everyone at the community dinner table with a smile as if they were family. It’s a gesture people like Marcus Martin appreciate.

“San Antonio has given me, no matter what I’m going through, a sense of belonging,” Martin said.

Martin said his family, for today, are volunteers like Kelli and his friends from Haven for Hope. Those gathered today hope the Raul Jiménez Thanksgiving Dinner will continue for years to come so that no one spends Thanksgiving alone.

About the Author:

Alicia Barrera is a KSAT 12 News reporter and anchor. She is also a co-host of the streaming show KSAT News Now. Alicia is a first-generation Mexican-American, fluent in both Spanish and English with a bachelor's degree from Our Lady of the Lake University. She enjoys reading books, traveling solo across Mexico and spending time with family.