Local leaders pose under the McDonald’s sign announcing the free Thanksgiving meals served Thursday at the restaurant on NM 528. Courtesy of St. Felix Pantry.

Thanks to the decades-long partnership between the Garza family McDonald’s and St. Felix Pantry, 1,000 people received a free Thanksgiving meal Thursday at the McDonald’s near the intersection of NM 528 and Southern Boulevard.

“Along with a selection of food, smiles, laughter and joy were shared as a community,” said St. Felix Director of Development Rachael Miletkov.

The Garza family and St. Felix have served free Thanksgiving meals for 30 years. This year, Garcia’s Kitchen joined the effort, making 400 refrigerated turkey dinners for people to take home.

Once those ran out, diners could get McDonald’s food.

For the first time since the pandemic began, community members could eat inside the restaurant, although the drive-thru was also open. As in past years, St. Felix volunteers and leaders and local dignitaries joined McDonald’s employees in making sure everyone had a meal.