Community members gathered to spend Thanksgiving together in Paso Robles Thursday.
At Centennial Park in Paso Robles, volunteers with Thanksgiving for Paso Robles prepared dinners for people to enjoy at the tables or to take home.
“Many people just need to be with someone on Thanksgiving and we welcome all to come join us," said David Kudija, the chairman for Thanksgiving for Paso Robles.
“I cannot describe it in words but it’s very delicious and thank you for doing this, for people who are – who need it,” added Geannia Masar, who lives in Paso Robles.
The event is powered by volunteers and on the menu, the traditional Thanksgiving fixings including oven roasted turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, greens, cranberry sauce, and pie.
“This is my third or fourth year doing it. It's fun. The crowd is rowdy. I love it so much,” said Gabrielle Fletes, who volunteered to dish out the food.
“I'm here with my family. I'm here with my son. And actually, this is what it means to me to have family around our extended family, close family, estranged family, our family,” said Carl Lockridge, who served as maître d'.
Volunteers cooked all week, with about 200 people working nearly 1,200 hours to make this Thanksgiving day a special one.
“Just being with my family and my kids right here, you got Christian and Benjamin being thankful for everything… and eating,” said Paso Robles resident Steven Didonna.
Cecilia Flores came with her family as well. “You know we come every year, and what the good thing about that I like is because we get all the family together," she said.
The organization has a few vendors that donate food, but the rest of the supplies are purchased with community donations. The cost this year amounted to about $12,000.
“It's a wonderful tradition. I hope it lasts forever and ever,” added Didonna.
“Its good to see old faces there. There's many people who are here year after year, and it's good to see them again,” Kudija said.
In addition to the meals at Centennial Park, the organization also brought food to the unhoused community members as well as shelters in Atascadero and Paso Robles.