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Vattmann church hosts Thanksgiving fundraiser in the spirit of giving

Vattmann resident Ronnie Unterbrink, helped in the Our Lady of Consolation Church dining hall to prepare around 2000 meals that will be served on Thanksgiving.

RIVIERA, Texas — Thanksgiving has been an extra special day for around 107 years for the residents of Vattmann. 

The small community is about 30 minutes south of Kingsville and the Our Lady of Consolation Church located there hosts a Thanksgiving lunch and festival. It serves as the main fundraiser for the church. It’s something residents have done since 1913. The huge event is expected to attract nearly 2000 people.

Vattmann resident Ronnie Unterbrink helped in the church dining hall to prepare meals that are going to be served on Thanksgiving Day. Unterbrink said he’s been attending the event every year since he was a baby and after 74 years he wouldn’t miss the event for anything.

"It’s a good fundraiser for the parish," Unterbrink said. "It’s also a good community reunion, parish reunion, and everybody gets to see everybody from years past. Other times you see people here on the day of Thanksgiving that you don’t see until the next Thanksgiving."

Last year residents just served drive-through take out lunches. Some 800 people drove all the way to Vattmann to get their meal. This year individuals can receive a meal whether they choose to wear a mask or not.

"You can get tickets here at the door, you don’t have to pre-buy them and we also have food to go. If you’d like to pick up your plates to go that would be fine," Unterbrink said. 

After the lunch there will be a four hour marathon set of bingo games taking place inside the hall. Then, later on in the evening they will host a huge dance that will last until midnight.

"This is a tradition," Unterbrink said. "And we do not want to stop it, we want to keep it going." 

There will also be over 60 desserts to eat as part of the Thanksgiving tradition, and won’t cost participants a dime extra.

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