Home News Local News Johnny Gonzales Thanksgiving Dinner planned for next week

Johnny Gonzales Thanksgiving Dinner planned for next week

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Mary Gonzales and her grandsons Nathaniel and Josiah Paredes unload donations collected at local schools for the Johnny Gonzales Thanksgiving Dinner to be held on Thursday at the Fraternal Order of Eagles at 3201 S. Sunset Ave. (Alison Penn Photo)

Mary Gonzales and her family will be hosting the Johnny Gonzales Annual Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday.

From left, Josiah Paredes, Nathaniel Paredes, Mary Gonzales, Principal Dolores Ingram and staff of Nancy Lopez Elementary School gather canned foods collected for the Johnny Gonzales Thanksgiving Dinner to be held on this coming Thursday. (Alison Penn Photo)

The dinner will be held from 11 a.m to 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day at the Fraternal Order of Eagles at 3201 S. Sunset Ave. Mary Gonzales said they expect to feed between 100 and 300 people. Mary Gonzales this dinner will be the last event until March of next year.

Johnny Gonzales and his family are known for their ministry and Thanksgiving dinners — as well as school supply giveaways and other events — to help the needy families of Roswell. Last year, the Thanksgiving dinner was canceled due to Johnny Gonzales’ battle with cancer and he passed away shortly after on Nov. 25.

To carry on Johnny’s legacy, Mary Gonzales and Nathaniel and Josiah Paredes, her grandsons and co-directors, as well as other members of the Gonzales family and the Community Volunteer Program, will be serving the dinner and cleaning up before, during and after the dinner. Gonzales said any leftovers will be given to attendees or the community kitchen at St. Peter Church at 111 E. Deming St. The Gonzales family is currently picking up donations and preparing for the event.

Mary Gonzales said the dinner is still in need of the following items: more volunteers, more turkeys and people to cook them, foil, paper goods, plastic ware, beverages and coffee, pastries and cleaning supplies and dish soap for before and after the dinner.

Physical donations such as homemade baked goods, and canned or prepackaged foods, can be delivered to 1101 Caminisito St. or mailed to P.O. Box 2790, Roswell, NM 88202. Monetary donations are also being accepted and checks can be made out to the Community Volunteer Program.

“It has been a blessing to get the community involved more and more,” Mary Gonzales said.

Mary Gonzales said many local businesses and community members have contributed with donations or by cooking turkeys. The official list of donations  includes Coca-Cola Beverages, Farley’s, La Familia Mental Health, Los Cerritos, Anderson-Bethany Funeral Home, McClellan Gas Company, Eastern New Mexico Medical Center, Red Lobster, Long John Silver, El Charro Mexican Tortilla Factory, Walgreens South, Martin’s Capitol Cafe, Adan’s Collision Center, Mike and Gina Buldra, Charles C. Currier, Vernon and Ernestina Crawford, the Roswell Fire Department, McDonald’s and the Snowbergers.

Gonzales also said local schools have had food drives for the Thanksgiving dinner including Missouri Avenue Elementary School, Nancy Lopez Elementary School, Pecos Elementary School, Del Norte Elementary School, Mountain View Middle School, Valley View Elementary School, Roswell High School and Goddard High School.

For questions and information, locals can call 575-624-7579 to arrange a time for a drop-off or ask for more information from the family.

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