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Kent Island restaurant serves more than 300 free Thanksgiving dinners

Posted at 3:45 PM, Nov 23, 2018

El Jefe on Kent Island has great Mexican food, but today the menu was changed.

“Turkey, ham, mash potatoes, stuffing, the whole nine,” said General Manager Sarah Acosta when listing the restaurant’s holiday offerings. 

Acosta said they offered their Thanksgiving meal for free, and they wanted to make sure everyone was included.

“Just to offer it to anyone in the community,” Acosta said. “Whether it’s a small family, anyone with children.”

There is many reasons people may be by themselves for the holidays. 

“You know, widows or widowers, maybe they are retirees and they don’t have children near by and your not going to cook for just a family of two,“ Acosta said. “So we just wanted to open it up and see what happens.”

What happened was a grateful community came together to share a holiday meal.

Martin Hernandez is the owner of El Jefe. The Mexican immigrant wanted to bring some of his culture to this American holiday. He put away the Mexican cuisine for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, but, he didn’t leave Mexico behind.

“Our culture form Mexico, on holidays like this you share what you have with the community,” Hernandez said.

Kimberly Toushard works at the Dollar Store next door, and, because of health issues for her and her family, she would have not have been able to serve up a dinner like her and her parents always had. Now, they are a part of the family here.

“He helped us out because he knew I couldn’t cook Thanksgiving dinner for our parents,” Toushard said. “It’s always been a good holiday for us when we all came together and  everybody came to the house.

Now they all came to Hernandez’s “home” for Thanksgiving. Even though he is a business man, giving away up to 300 dinners today was not about the bottom line.

“Me giving that to them – that’s a lot for me,” Hernandez said. “That’s better than money.”

It looked like everybody was in giving and thankful mood.