Monetary donations are urgently needed to help hold community Thanksgiving celebrations in Hawkins and Winnsboro.

Richie’s Grill & Cafe is set to remain open for the Thanksgiving holiday so people can enjoy a no-cost meal and fellowship in a relaxed setting.

However, donations are still needed to help cover the cost of the food, some of which is provided by restaurant owner Ricky Perez.

Volunteers are also needed to help serve.

Anyone wishing to donate to the community feast can contact Richie’s in Hawkins, 110 W. Front St., 903-769-4806; or in Winnsboro, 301 E. Coke Road, 903-342-6396.

Until a few years ago, the restaurants were closed on Thanksgiving.

Upon realizing some regular customers had no family or place to spend the holiday, Perez decided in 2010 to remain open and offer a free serve-yourself buffet, using volunteer servers so employees could have the day off.

A special collection was also started to benefit a pre-selected local family in need.

The event historically attracts several hundred hungry diners with some leftovers going to the Highway 80 Rescue Mission.

- Jacque Hilburn-Simmons

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