By Tony Parra
Portales and Clovis volunteers are putting together a Thanksgiving feast for anyone as part of the third annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner.
The Third Annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday at the Memorial Building.
The meal is free and anyone can attend and eat turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing and desserts. Portales community volunteers and Cannon Air Force Base volunteers will help out with this year’s Thanksgiving Day meal, according to Veda Urioste, an organizer of the meal.
“It means a lot to the people we help,” Joe Pari, an organizer of the meal, said. “We come from a blessed nation. These people (who are helped) are helping me. They touch my life. I hope it (the event) does something for them.”
Pari said volunteers helped serve more than 400 people last year including home delivery to those who are homebound. Between 150 and 200 of those were home deliveries to people. Pari said he expects about 500 people will be helped through the Thanksgiving meal and about 200 to 250 of those people will receive the home delivery meals.
“Volunteers from Cannon Air Force Base will come to town to help,” Pari said. “It makes them feel better and makes them feel like a part of the community.”
Pari said some CAFB personnel and spouses are unable to go out of town to visit family and friends for the Thanksgiving break.
Urioste said the free food is for everybody whether it’s the less fortunate, those who don’t have the holiday to share with others or just simply a member of the community. Urioste said some Eastern New Mexico University students aren’t able to travel home to be with family and friends during the Thanksgiving break. The community meal gives them a chance to be with others and eat turkey.
Urioste said people who are homebound and want to call to request delivery must call in by 5 p.m. on Nov. 23. Home delivery will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
James A. Gibson entertained the crowd by playing the piano last year and will do so again this year. Urioste said the Girl Scouts decorated table pieces for the dinner. Antoinette Urioste and Kevin Gardels will sing during the meal.
“It’s a special occasion and everybody looks forward to it,” Pari said. “The holidays can be a lonely time for some people. People can go to the dinner and interact with other people from the community during the holiday.”
Many community members are helping along with Central Christian and St. Helen Catholic members with the dinner. For more information or to volunteer, call Elvia Garcia at 693-1857, Pari at 791-0882 or Urioste at 693-3319.