Thanksgiving a chance to 'Share the Blessings' with three area community dinners
Nov. 17, 2010 at 5:17 a.m.
From inside "Olga's" restaurant in Goliad, two friends gleamed when they talked about how they planned to share their blessings this Thanksgiving.
"I feel like God has handed this over to me," Olga Zamora said, gesturing to the small, brightly-colored shack that was surrounded by a line of cars waiting for breakfast tacos. "In return, I wanted to give back to the community. The community has really supported me."
Two other community Thanksgiving meals are planned in the area - one in Victoria and the other in Cuero.
In October, at age 59, Zamora said she realized her lifelong dream of owning her own breakfast place. Ari Boubel, the restaurant's previous owner, had called her one day and said, "Olga, we're going to make your dreams come true."
Boubel turned the restaurant over to Zamora, who is paying her back, taco-by-taco.
In the meantime, the duo planned the "Share the Blessings" free Thanksgiving meal. Both saw a need in the community, and they said they felt God calling them to "Feed my people."
"We've always been very blessed," Boubel said. "We believe that God just used us to bless (Olga). That's why we're calling it, 'Share the Blessings.'"
With the response they've received so far, Boubel and Zamora expect to feed about 200 people and are delivering meals to those who can't make it into town.
But they hope to also provide fellowship for those who do come.
"Anybody can just throw a plate at you and say, here you go," Boubel said. "We want them to feel really special and know that there are people in the community who care. They're not alone."
In a place like Goliad, people in need really aren't alone, Zamora said. Every community member with whom they've spoken has helped contribute to the meal.
"We have a lot of volunteers. A lot of people are kicking in, and I'm like 'It's really going to happen. We're going to do it. We're going to feed Goliad.'"
In Victoria, the Salvation Army expects to feed up to 800 people at the annual community Thanksgiving dinner, said Maj. Denise Lozano, Corps officer.
The meal will be served from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. and is dine-in only with no take outs.
"If anyone would like to volunteer, we could still use some help," said Lozano.
Cuero's Let's Stand Together Community Thanksgiving dinner is now in its 16th year, said Isabel Patton, one of the events organizers.
"We are really in need of turkeys at this point," she said. "That is our main need."
Organizers will gather Thursday at Millie's on Main, 115 E. Main St., for a final meeting before Thanksgiving.
"We are expecting to feed up to a thousand people," Patton said. "God willing it will all come together."
The event began in 1994 when Carrie Liendo Ruiz organized the first community dinner. Ruiz died in 2007, but the tradition has been continued by her family and friends.
Patton said they could also use more volunteers, especially for the after-dinner clean up.