LA FERIA — Families across the Valley woke up yesterday to finish prepping their Thanksgiving meal.
Turkey, ham and pie were heated up in the oven to keep up with their family traditions.
In La Feria, a similar tradition was taking place, but it was many volunteers who began working as early as 7 a.m. to prepare the 25th Annual Feast of Sharing Community Thanksgiving Dinner for residents of La Feria, Santa Rosa and Santa Maria who needed a Thanksgiving meal.
“We always come here,” said Hortencia Navarro, a La Feria resident. “It’s a good tradition for the community.”
Hortencia called it a blessing for the community as she and her family waited to receive five Thanksgiving meals.
“We are going to enjoy the food together at home and enjoy the day,” she said.
She said they come every year because the food is very good and very helpful for their family.
“It’s a wonderful thing for the community,” said Mary Breden, New Hope Presbyterian Church pastor. “It’s a good thing for the people who are doing the sharing and the people who are receiving the Thanksgiving meal.”
She said it was very nice for the community to come together.
“Even though we live in a small town we don’t all know each other,” Breden said.
The La Feria Chamber of Commerce led the effort with other city organizations to put together the Thanksgiving feast for the community.
“It’s truly an amazing thing to see 135 volunteers and so many more churches and civic organizations coming in to help,” said Sunny Philip, La Feria Chamber of Commerce president.
“The goal is to serve 1,500 people today.”
The La Feria Feast of Sharing has been around for 25 years.
The first event started with only six turkeys. Yesterday, 75 turkeys had been cooked, sliced and passed out with gravy on top, with all the trimmings and pumpkin pie to families who were in line as early as 9 a.m.
“I’m happy families are bringing their kids, and I’m happy we have this food for them,” said Alma Martinez, Feast of Sharing co-chair. “Different organizations donated all the food.”
She said four church youth groups and La Feria High School clubs volunteered and were very excited for Thanksgiving.
“I am grateful,” said Gloria Bustamente, a La Feria resident. “I was here last year.”
She picked up two meals yesterday, one for her and her brother.
“I just hope that people appreciate what is given to them, and to everybody,” Bustamante said. “We need to appreciate.”