Saturday, November 28, 2009

San Antonio - A City of Sharing at Thanksgiving

In retrospect, it was a usual Thanksgiving Day in San Antonio.  Across the city, families gathered to cook, eat, watch football, and visit with their loved ones.  And as usual, there were two wonderful programs at work in San Antonio to help those who might not have that Ozzie and Harriet Thanksgiving Day experience.

Raul Jiminez Thanksgiving Dinner
First is the annual Raul Jiminez Thanksgiving Dinner.  The dinner began as an annual affair in 1972 when restauranteur Raul Jiminez served 200 Senior Citizens in the parking lot of his Ft. Worth  factory.  Several years later he moved the dinner to San Antonio, his home and headquarters of his business.  Over the years it has grown, and now feeds 25,000 diners, both seniors and anyone needing a Thanksgiving dinner.  This year was the 30th anniversary, and the work is carried on by the late Jiminez's daughter, Patricia Jiminez, along with about 400 volunteers, mostly from the San Antonio area.  Their motto is that no one is turned away, and everyone is welcome.  Taking place at the San Antonio Convention Center downtown, they served about 450 turkeys with about 1800 pounds of dressing.

Operation Homecoming
The second program that highlights the generosity of the San Antonio residents is the Operation Homecoming which is now in its 35th year, and one of the largest and oldest programs in the United States of it's kind.  Operation Homecoming places thousands of local airmen and soldiers from Lackland Air Force Base and Fort Sam Houston (Army) into local homes for Thanksgiving Day.  The troops are picked up by their host families early in the day, and become family for a day!  They enjoy Thanksgiving dinner, a little football, and a chance to get to see a little more of San Antonio, before being returned to the base or fort in the early evening.  We've hosted several years in the past and found it a most rewarding experience meeting young men and women from all over the US who are very grateful to be in a home when they are away from home.

San Antonio is truly a wonderful place to live!

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