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Annual Tolleson Thanksgiving returns after two years

The annual event has been around for 38 years. Volunteers gather to serve Thanksgiving dinner to all who wish.

PHOENIX — The Tolleson community was thankful for one another this year. Volunteers of all ages gathered early Thursday to serve meals to anyone who wanted one. The annual festival in the city has been a tradition for 38 years and is finally taking place in person again after a two-year COVID-19 break.

Smiles filled the room as people, one by one, plate by plate, celebrated together.

“I’m having fun,” volunteer Hallie said. “I’m excited.”

“This is a community event and belongs to all of us,” said Armando Morado.

Delicious foods such as turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy and of course cake were served to anyone who wanted some.

“Today started Sunday,” Morado said. “We cooked 80 turkeys, we deboned the turkey, we cooked 760 pounds of yams, and we made 300 pounds of ham.”

The food is all donated and cooked, prepared and served by volunteers who just want to help make it a special day.

“This is for everyone,” Morado said.

“I think it shows that we’re taking initiative,” Hallie said. “We care about the community and we want to help and we want to help people.”

“I think it’s important because on Thanksgiving you’re also showing love and thanks to everyone who’s been there for you,” volunteer Ariana said.

“It’s an honor,” Morado said. “It is a honor.”

Whether helping or enjoying the food, people said they were thankful for one another this year.

“Family and friends come together just to say thank you and be grateful for everything you have,” Hallie said.

Around 1,700 meals are expected to have been served and organizers can’t wait to serve even more next year. They invite the Tolleson community to come out next year and attend the event.

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