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Free Thanksgiving meals serve the masses

Sonny Long

By Sonny Long
Nov. 24, 2010 at 5:24 a.m.

Ari Boubel crumbles large pans of cornbread to make stuffing at Grace Temple Church in Goliad, where they plan to provide a Thanksgiving dinner.Volunteers from the community have come together to help families celebrate the holiday.

Pat Holloway feels blessed being able to help serve Thanksgiving dinner to hundreds of her closest friends.

Holloway will be among the volunteers serving the traditional meal at the Salvation Army in Victoria. The organization is preparing to serve up to 800.

"People just want a kind word, a smile and a hug if you'll give it to them," said Holloway, the organization's volunteer coordinator. "It blesses you to be able to cause someone to smile."

Holloway will be on the serving line for the sixth year, volunteering to help since her husband of 47 years died.

The annual meal is not just for the homeless in Victoria said Maj. Ernest Lozano, Corps officer.

"Many people just don't have anyone to share the day with," Lozano said. "If you want to spend the day with someone, just have someone to talk to, come on out to the Salvation Army."

Lozano said the Salvation Army has been serving the free community meal for more than a decade.

Cook Keith Gibson is preparing 25 turkeys for the traditional menu that will include dressing, green beans, gravy, bread and mashed potatoes. It is dine-in only.

Desserts have been donated by Halepaska's Bakery and local pie makers.


Goliad's first Share the Blessing Thanksgiving meal will provide not only food, but also fellowship for residents. Ari Boubel, one of the event's organizers, said orders can be delivered, but encourages those who can to join others at the Grace Temple Church fellowship hall.

"One of the main reasons we are having this is for people to come in and be with others so they won't have to be alone on Thanksgiving," said Boubel.

They expect to feed up to 200 and have cooked 12 turkeys that average about 20 pounds each, Boubel said.

"We are making everything from scratch - the cornbread dressing, the giblet gravy, the pies," she said. Green beans, yams, rolls and cranberries are also on the menu.


In Cuero, organizers of the 16th annual Let's Stand Together Community Thanksgiving Dinner spent Wednesday peeling 300 pounds of potatoes that were then mashed for the Thanksgiving meal. The menu will also include turkey and dressing, green beans, sweet potatoes and pie.

Volunteers to serve or clean up are still needed and orders to be delivered continue to be taken, said Isabel Patton, one of the event's organizers.

"The men will smoke 74 turkeys starting at 9 p.m. Wednesday and we'll start deboning them at 6 a.m. Thursday," said Patton. "It's a lot of work and sometimes frustrating, but in the end you have to remember why you are doing it."



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