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Gonzales Thanksgiving dinner canceled due to declining health

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Johnny Gonzales stands with a group of volunteers who donated during a previous year’s Thanksgiving celebration. (File Photo)

Since 1981, Johnny and Mary Gonzales, beloved and well-known members of the community, have hosted a free Thanksgiving dinner that has fed hundreds annually. This wonderful event has blessed many families and people from all walks of life, whether they are elderly or homeless individuals.

However, due to a decline in Johnny’s health, the dinner is canceled this year.

“First, I would like to thank the public for the years of effort and support. I am taking care of Johnny now, and I ask the community for prayers for him,” Mary said. “The community can definitely donate financially, or create a food basket with non-perishables, and a turkey or ham.”

Homemade baked goods and canned, prepackaged foods can also be included. Food baskets can be left with Gonzales at 1101 Caminisito St., and or call 575-637-6993 to arrange a time and for more information.

Johnny, president of the Community Volunteer Program, has blessed the community with a variety of events like school supply giveaways to Christmas parties and dinners. The most recent event occurred during Father’s Day weekend honoring fathers and others who have filled that role. All these events create fellowship and provide assistance for those in need.

A myriad of lives have been influenced by the Gonzales family and the selfless acts of volunteers over years of events. The holidays can be lonely, but acting from the heart, as Johnny does, is a full embodiment of compassion and love, which creates a sense of belonging.

As Thanksgiving approaches, one could contemplate on Johnny’s example, and think about what can be offered to benefit the community.

For those interested in participating with the Community Volunteer Program, Mary said future events will occur and will be announced at a later date.

City reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.