Thanksgiving meal community effort

By Clarence Plank: PNT staff writer

It’s time for the seventh annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner at the Memorial Building. About 100 turkeys, plus mashed potatoes, vegetables, pumpkin pies and more are being prepared for the community event that gives people a place to go for the holiday.

“We start planning 45 to 60 days before the event,” Portales Community Outreach organizer Elvia Garcia said. “We start announcing to the community, and it is just not St. Helen Catholic Church that is involved. The city, all kinds of churches and we all come together to unite the community.”

Garcia said people from Cannon Air Force Base and the Portales community help deliver and serve the food.

Joe Parie, one of the Portales Community Outreach organizers, said he didn’t know how many people were going to bring turkeys for the feast.

“We have a lot of desserts,” Parie said. “We usually run out of desserts, so we put an extra special call for it, and we are anticipating a lot them.”

Parie said volunteers deliver more than 200 meals to people who can’t get out for whatever reason.

James A. Gibson will be playing the piano while diners eat or pass through picking up their meals.

“This is a big social event because people can get out and give their time,” Parie said. “They love it.”

Parie said the group expects to feed 400 to 600 people at the Memorial Building and then go on to Juarez, Mexico, to feed 2,500 to 3,000 on the weekend.

The leftovers go to the Cereso Prison in Juarez and feed people on the streets in Juarez.

“There’s always a couple of families that we send something home with them, so they would have plenty that night,” Parie said. “It has been a real blessing to everybody that has been involved.”