Groups combine efforts for free meal

By Tony Parra

Having Roosevelt County together as one big family is the goal of organizers for the Second Annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Memorial Building on Thanksgiving Day.
Organizers put together the free Thanksgiving feast with the help of the community through donations. Elvia Garcia of St. Helen’s Church said there were between 100 to 125 people at last year’s Thanksgiving Dinner. Garcia said volunteers also delivered more than 200 Thanksgiving meals to homes.
Garcia said Cannon Air Force officials and families helped serve dinner at last year’s free community Thanksgiving dinner. She said they also helped deliver to the homebound and elderly. Garcia said while the dinner is going on in the Memorial Building, volunteers will be delivering meals.
Veda Urioste, who is helping with the Thanksgiving dinner, said she would like to see more Eastern New Mexico University students.
“We’re hoping to get more of a turnout from Eastern,” Urioste said. “They’re welcome to come and eat and enjoy the entertainment.”
Urioste said there will be someone playing the piano as entertainment for the dinner and the St. Helen’s and Central Christian church choirs will also perform.
Organizers said they depend solely on donations from individuals, companies, organizations and churches from the community.
Both Central Christian and St. Helen’s church members are also helping in the set up. Joe Pari of Central Christian spoke to Urioste shortly before last year’s dinner and believed it would best to combine resources.
“Veda and me were talking one day and wondered, ‘Why are we doing the free meals separate?’” Pari said. “We have the same goal to feed the community. Why should we have two different places serve a free meal? We should have one place for the whole community.”
Urioste also said there are a lot of people who don’t make it to church, but can attend the free dinner in the Memorial Building. Garcia said the Memorial Building is a great place to have the free dinner because it is not affiliated with any particular church.
“We want those who don’t have any money or just want to come out and eat no matter who they are,” Garcia said. “We want them to have a place to go to.”
Pari said members from Central Christian and St. Helen’s churches, along with community members, will be making a trip to Juarez on Friday morning to serve more than 300 needy people on Saturday morning.
People interested in information of the Thanksgiving dinner in the Memorial Building can call Pari at 760-2428. Garcia said if people want to have meals delivered to their homes they should call by 5 p.m. on Wednesday.