, Port Arthur, Texas

November 28, 2013

Hospitality Center provides warmth, Thanksgiving meal

Mary Meaux
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — Sanda Herrera and her family did something a little different this year for Thanksgiving.

Herrera and children Fatima Velazquez, 5; Juason Velazquez, 10; and Jesus Castellanos, 12, headed to the Hospitality Center in Port Arthur to help serve a meal to those in need.

“This is our service for Thanksgiving,” Herrera said while taking a quick break Thursday morning. “I like it here, it’s very nice. We are grateful for our blessings.”

The Hospitality Center, which is open 365 days of the year, serves a hot meal to the needy daily. On Thanksgiving scores of volunteers descend on the facility offering their services. Some, like Susanna Consuelos, show up for community service, and decide to continue to volunteer after their required time. Consuelos’s community service is for a traffic ticket, she said, but she wants to continue and volunteer because she likes to help people.

Christina Vera, director of the Center, said this year she divided volunteers into two time slots; 7 to 10 a.m. and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., to allow more people a chance to experience the gift of giving to others.

H.E.B store on Gulfway Drive donated 20 turkeys and side dishes for the feast, Vera said. Brett Smith, who has a catering business, donated his services and smoked the turkeys.

“I want to help others and to give back,” Smith said. “I have the barbecue put already plus this is fun. I enjoy it.”

Smith, who is Catholic, said he often stops by the center to drop off food items and to see if they need some help.

“My motto is give, give give,” he said.

The Hospitality Center is a part of Catholic Charities of Southeast Texas. The Center provides a daily meal for the elderly o fixed incomes, temporary needy, working poor, disabled and homeless persons. Volunteers are needed at all times of the year. For more information, call the Center at 982-4842.


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