2022 Raul Jimenez Thanksgiving Dinner returns to in-person event for first time since pandemic

The 43rd annual event will take place on Nov. 24 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center

SAN ANTONIO – The Raul Jimenez Thanksgiving Dinner is a decades-long tradition in San Antonio and it’s returning to the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center this year for the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

During a press conference Wednesday, Mayor Ron Nirenberg, Raul Jimenez Dinner committee members and other community leaders officially kicked off this year’s dinner preps and opened up the online registration for this year’s volunteers. Within hours, all 4,000 volunteer slots had been filled.

This year marks the 43rd anniversary of the event, which will take place on Nov. 24 at the convention center, located on E. Market Street, just off Highway 37.

The event is for seniors and people experiencing homelessness or food insecurity. People are invited to dine together at a community dinner table where they can enjoy a free, hot Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings along with live music and entertainment.

Due to the pandemic, organizers had to pivot in 2020 and 2021. Instead of an in-person event, meals were distributed with the help of more than 40 partnering organizations and volunteers.

This year, in addition to the in-person event, anyone who needs a meal delivered on Thanksgiving can call 211 to make arrangements.

“We think this is going to be the best Thanksgiving yet in the history of the Raul Jimenez Thanksgiving Dinner,” said Patricia Jimenez, daughter of Raul Jimenez.

Patricia Jimenez said with the increase in food costs, it was expected that donations could be down this year, but so far they’ve actually increased.

“The community has leaned in even closer and said, ‘How can we help?’” said Jimenez.

Jimenez said the event’s corporate sponsor, Walmart, has also increased its donation. Walmart donated $30,000 for this year’s event.

Mayor Nirenberg along with the president of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce encouraged local businesses to also step up and support the event.

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Julie Moreno has worked in local television news for more than 25 years. She came to KSAT as a news producer in 2000. After producing thousands of newscasts, she transitioned to the digital team in 2015. She writes on a wide variety of topics from breaking news to trending stories and manages KSAT’s daily digital content strategy.