SAN ANTONIO – Turkey, gravy, green beans, and of course stuffing. These are essential fixings of a traditional Thanksgiving meal.
The Raul Jimenez Thanksgiving Dinner took place on Thursday to make sure those in need enjoy the traditional Thanksgiving meal. It’s an annual community service event that has placed an emphasis on giving for the past 42 years.
RK Group Sous Chef Dillon Zurita said it’s always a good thing to give back to others who need help.
“Just being able to give back to the community, especially working downtown, you see a lot of homeless and people in need so it’s good to be able to drive away from work today knowing we actually fed everybody down here today,” Zurita said.
The annual dinner typically is hosted in person and gathers thousands of folks across San Antonio under one roof to break bread. The pandemic caused some changes to the operation, but staff said those changes have been a blessing.
“The thing that I like about this year and last year is that a lot of people aren’t able to physically get here so I feel the only bright side of the pandemic is that they have the opportunity to get these meals without physically coming down to the Convention Center,” Zurita said.
The Raul Jimenez Thanksgiving Dinner was first established in 1979, in an effort of ensuring senior citizens and those who can’t afford to prepare a dinner were not left out. A selfless call to action was made by Raul Jimenez himself nearly 4-decades ago.
The dinner is an operation successfully executed with the help of over 300 volunteers.
Jimenez’s grandson Raul Jimenez III said the dinner has evolved from a family tradition to a San Antonio tradition and expects it to continue for many years to come.
“I think he’s looking down on us, he passed back in 1998 and I think every year since then he has been looking down on us saying you know, these guys got it together, they got heart and we got the community support and it’s amazing what happens when the community comes together,” Jimenez said.
And in the spirit of giving thanks, Patricia Jimenez, daughter of the late Raul, said only one thing can be said.
“We just want to say thank you and how grateful we are and I mean Happy Thanksgiving everyone, keep shining your light brightly,” Jimenez said.