The Joe Salem Dinner was started by a former State Representative and aside from 2015, has taken place every year since the 1970s.

This year's event will be a bigger venue and organizers hope to serve Thanksgiving meals to even more Coastal Bend residents.

"It's just something that was so very special to Mr. Salem," organizer Chris Saenz said.

Saenz is the keep of the tradition set out by Joe Salem.

"Thank goodness for me I was able to work with such a humble and giving person. Of course when he got sick, he came to me and said to me, 'I want you to make me a promise,' and that promise was that you got to make sure that this continues," Saenz said. "And those are big shoes to fill."

Salem decided to feed the newspaper boys throughout Corpus Christi and eventually expanded the tradition to include all the people he represented.

" I have to admit, you know, I was nervous. How do you put such a big event together? But I think just working with him one-on-one it was easy, and just seeing his passion of making sure that people were fed on such a special day of giving thanks -- it was real easy to work with him. He became like a grandfather to me," Saenz said.

If volunteers would like to help during this year's dinner, they are instructed to show up at Sokol Hall at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday.

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