City leaders in Mission and La Joya gathered Monday to provide food for needy residents in their respective communities.
Mary Salinas, member of the La Joya City Commission, her husband Mayor Fito Salinas and Church Siloe, organized the second annual Thanksgiving gathering for the community.
The group provided turkey dinners to about 700 people, about 300 more than the first year, Mary Salinas estimated, and it still wasn’t enough because they ran out of food and had to turn some people away. Next year, she said, they might need to double the amount of food they make again.
“Last year, we just decided that we’re going to do something for the community because sometimes you give out turkeys, but not everybody gets one, and we wanted to make sure that everybody got something,” Mary Salinas said. “I consider our city our family, so this is our family.”
As the event wound down Monday evening, Police Chief Geovani Hernandez called out winners of free turkeys and chickens.
Siloe Pastor Rosita Treviño said those involved receive great satisfaction from the event, and it encourages members of the community to attend the church, which sometimes has members meet at city hall early in the morning to pray for the city.
“The church loves the community, and God wants us to share and save souls,” Treviño said.
This year, Salinas said, they wanted to make sure every house received an invitation and spent three days going door-to-door to put the word out to the community.
“It’s awesome when we put God first,” she said. “Everything we do in politics and our daily lives, we try to make Him the center.”
Meanwhile, in Mission, city department heads gathered to prepare boxes full of Thanksgiving staples – a frozen turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, veggies and rolls. They’d identified 50 families in a community on Mile 2 they believe wouldn’t otherwise have a hot meal over the holiday.
Joining the city were sponsors like Keystone Construction, Foy’s Supermarket and Escalera Wrecker.
“We’re very blessed to have the opportunity to be here today and give back to these 50 families, and they’ll have a smile on Thanksgiving when they get together with their families,” City Manager Martin Garza said Monday afternoon.