SAN ANTONIO — For decades, the Jimenez family has served the community during the annual Raul Jimenez Thanksgiving dinner, but this year is different.
This summer, Mary Jimenez, the family's matriarch passed away.
Year after year, Mary has been the guiding light for the annual dinner.
"Now we have our guardian angel," said Raul Jimenez III, Mary's grandson. "She's now watching and she's sitting over in her booth right now, making sure we're doing what we're supposed to be doing."
Mary's family saved her usual spot for her, memorializing it with a candle and flowers.
"We called her Momo. we lost her few months back," Raul said. "She was a spiritual guidance that we always had. she was a remarkable woman. She always prayed for everybody. She always wanted to pray for all the volunteers."
Raul said everyone at the annual dinner is considered a part of his family.
"We're a small family by heart, we only have four or five Jimenez's left, immediate Jimenez's," Raul said. "But we've had the support of the city that has been around year after year."
The Jimenez family said nothing would be possible without the community coming together to help.
"We feed the senior citizens, we feed the homeless veterans, the disabled. and this is an honor for me to serve my community," said Carlos Antonio Raymond, a volunteer.
Raul said there is another generation of family members who he anticipates will take over the dinner one day.
But for now, he says it feels good to know that the city is behind them.
"My grandfather says, we come into this world with nothing, and we will leave here with nothing. it's what we do in between that counts," Raul said.