Service With A Smile

The community-wide Thanksgiving feast has served up to 2,500 annually for the past 22 years with a dine-in meal at the El Campo Civic Center. While unable to hold the in-person event this year, organizer Hector Gutierrez said the event will go on, with plates available to-go only. Organizers are hopeful that next year will be back to normal so that they can hold the event as in years past.

For 23 years, Hector Gutierrez and the El Campo Community Event organization have been serving hot plates and warm smiles every year on Thanksgiving Day hosting a community-wide Thanksgiving feast.

Each year, up to 2500 guests are fed a catered Thanksgiving meal. An effort of that magnitude takes a lot of help. At least 100 volunteers are necessary, but more are always welcome to show up and help.

Gutierrez said the help usually comes in the form of volunteers from local service organizations, high-schoolers  needing service hours and their parents. Although the actual meal is catered by Werner’s Catering of Shiner, Gutierrez encourages the community to put on their aprons to help. Small, separately packaged deserts like brownies and cookies are needed to round out the meal. Volunteers and baked goods can begin arriving at 8:30 a.m. Thanksgiving morning.

“Most places are closed on Thanksgiving, but sometimes people need a place to go to have a good time and fellowship together,” Gutierrez said.

In the light of COVID restraints, Gutierrez said they were forced to make the event a drive-thru-only affair this year, but he says it must go on in whatever way it can, rather than die out.

“We’re hoping to go back to dine-in next year, he said. People can count on us being here.”

Plates will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Anyone can partake of the meal, but must be present to pick up plates to-go. The only exception is if they are home-bound or otherwise physically unable to come. In that case, delivery can be scheduled beginning Monday, Nov. 22 by calling 979-543-5073.

The event would be impossible without the support of the community in the form of monetary donations and volunteer manpower. Monetary donations can be arranged either through First State Bank of Louise or directly mailed to P.O. Box 443, El Campo Tx 77437.

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