El Paso – All along the U.S. border with Mexico, local governments have joined forced so that the poorest families in their communities may also have a nice dinner this Thanksgiving.
On Tuesday evening, about 185 low-income families living in Sunland Park, New Mexico, each received a turkey from the local authorities.
The event took place at the town's elder center and hundreds of people showed up there to receive not only the turkeys, but also energy-saving lightbulbs and new coats for their children.
The donations were made in part by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, representatives of which attended the event to disburse the gifts.
"We want (members of) the less economically fortunate community to be able to have their Thanksgiving dinner. It's important that the CBP join with the people of our society and thus avoid having them fear us like happens with many citizens," agent Soledad Ferrell told Efe.
Sunland Park is a border town with a little over 14,000 residents, of whom the majority live in extreme poverty.
"We will visit the city's poorest homes to personally bring some gifts, including Thanksgiving dinner," said municipal government spokesperson Alondra Lozano.
In El Paso, Mayor John Cook and members of his team on Thursday will hold a public dinner, where the invited guests are homeless people and those who don't have enough money to provide their children with a special dinner.
"This is the seventh year that we've held this dinner with the poorest people in our city. We're expecting about 7,000 people, since in past years the number was very similar," said the mayor.
Hundreds of volunteers come each year to the El Paso Convention Center to help cook the huge dinner.
"It's an enriching and very spiritual experience," said Linda Lee, a volunteer who has participated in the event for three consecutive years along with her husband.
Just like Lee, other volunteers had to sign up to participate weeks in advance, and so many offered their services that last week the mayor's office was repeating that they didn't need any more helpers for the event.
"It's a pleasure for us to know that the citizens are aware of this work and take part of their free time to help the less fortunate," an aide to the mayor told Efe.