Free Joe Salem Turkey Dinner continues for 75th year

Posted at 5:14 AM, Nov 22, 2018

Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for what we have and give to others who may be less fortunate.

And across Nueces County, many have donated food, money and their time to bring the holiday to those less fortunate members of the community at the annual Joe Salem Thanksgiving Day dinner.

All members of the community are invited to enjoy food and festivities this holiday.

Seventy-five years ago Joe Salem created a special dinner to serve folks who didn’t have the means or the ability to prepare a traditional home-cooked Thanksgiving meal for themselves or who otherwise might not have anyone to share the holiday with.

Although Salem died in 2001, the long time jeweler and former state representative always had a heart for the less fortunate, especially during Thanksgiving. That is why his family and other donors have kept this South Texas tradition alive.

“It’s become a tradition where we all come together and enjoy the day just like it is for you and me. And it’s an opportunity to give back, but to also make Mr. Salem proud that his legacy continues today,” said volunteer Lisa Saenz-Luevanos.

This annual event used to be held at the Boys and Girls Club, but organizers wanted a bigger venue in order to feed more people. Now for a third straight year, it will be held at Sokol Hall at 5502 Kostoryz Drive.

Lisa Saenz who has been volunteering for more than 20 years, along with other volunteers, started prep work on Wednesday night, then an another crew takes over in the early morning at 3 a.m.Thanksgiving morning.

They expect to have the food prepared by Thanksgiving Day for more than 500 people this year.

Residents who show up for the dinner can take food home if there are leftovers. That’s the way Salem wanted it.

The dinner will be from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm Thursday. And more volunteers are still needed from 8:00 am to cleanup at 2:00 pm.

If you plan on attending

What: 75th Annual Joe Salem Thanksgiving Dinner

When: Noon-2 p.m. Thursday

Where: Sokol Gym, 5502 Kostoryz Road

Cost: Free

Volunteers who want to help with serving in the kitchen you can contact Elaine Medina at 361-331-2006

For event information Raquel Villarreal at 361-739-8706