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Thousands of volunteers gear up for Raul Jimenez Thanksgiving Dinner

The event began in 1979 and is now in its 42nd year.

SAN ANTONIO — Thousands of volunteers and donors are preparing to feed a massive crowd on Thanksgiving at the Raul Jimenez Thanksgiving Dinner.

The event began in 1979 and is now in its 42nd year. It was started by San Antonio restaurant owner and businessman Raul Jimenez to serve community members in need a hot meal on Thanksgiving.

The dinner provides senior citizens and those less fortunate a place to enjoy a hot and nutritious turkey dinner with all the trimmings. It is held every year at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center downtown.

The event serves more than 24,000 seniors citizens and community members in need. It has grown into one of the biggest Thanksgiving benefits in the country.

Over 4,000 volunteers work the event every year in areas of transportation, food preparation and service, beverages, decorations, event-day volunteers, entertainment, security, and clean-up. 

The tradition is made possible by more than 50 sponsors from local businesses, corporations, and foundations. Some of the sponsors include Walmart, Valero, CPS Energy, Starbucks and City Tours. There are also fundraising events held throughout the year to raise additional money.

The menu in 2021 includes stuffing, green beans, gravy, yams, cranberry sauce, bread rolls and pumpkin pie for dessert.

Local musicians also donate their talents and provide live music to entertain the guests.

Last year, in 2020, the event shifted to a remote service due to the pandemic. Thousands of volunteers still pitched into to make ready-to-eat meals, which were then delivered to senior citizens and other in need.

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