By Clarence Plnk: PNT Staff Writer
Families breaking bread during the holidays has been a tradition for centuries. They sit around a table enjoying each other’s company and are grateful for their blessings.
Another tradition took place in Portales on Christmas Day at El Ranchos Restaurant as the Garcia Family served lunch to the community.
“This has been going on for five years now,” Joe Garcia said.” I just wanted to bring people who don’t have Christmas with their family and no one to share it with. they can share it with our family and everybody else.”
Each year the Garcia family has served, the crowd has grown. One of the volunteers estimated that more than 300 people have been eating at the restaurant in the first few hours.
“It has fluctuated last year where we didn’t see as many as 50,” Joe said. “The second year we probably had about 75 and it has picked up where we have had 100. This is the best by far and has beat out ever number had so far and we still have a couple of hours to go.”
Joe Garcia was pleased to see how much the event has grown into something the community looks forward to attending each year. It was his idea for people that are alone for the holidays — whether passing through, moving in, or dealing with holiday plans that fell through — will have some place to go on Christmas.
“We had some people that were transferring over to this area from; I believe it was Michigan,” Joe said. “They moved in over the holiday season. Their house wasn’t equipped with electricity and they hadn’t gotten their house together. They didn’t have no place to eat. This really helped them and it is the perfect way to welcome people into our community.”
A buffet with turkey, ham, dressing, green bean casserole and deserts await travelers and residents of Portales to the community. The feast was made possible with donations of food and time.
Eva Mcafoos is one of the volunteers who helping to serve the many hungry visitors that have wondered in. She and her husband have lived here in Portales for 15 years.
“We come here and eat and it got to the point where I just volunteered and help serve,” Mcafoos said.
El Rancho has been in opperation since 1989 and is a shared ownership of the family with Ruben Garcia (father), Sara Garcia (mother), Joe Garcia (oldest son) and Josie Garcia (grandmother).