Hundreds of people were treated to an early Thanksgiving dinner, with a south of the border flavor, in Santa Maria Wednesday night.
For years the Manos de Angel, or Angel Hands, dinner has provided a free meal to hundreds of people in Santa Maria on the eve of Thanksgiving with the mantra of no questions asked.
The Manos de Angel dinner is a special occasion in Santa Maria, a labor of love for a local family, their friends and supporters to give back to their community at a time of year when many are in need.
“There’s people who probably have too much pride to come in here”, said dinner attendee John Hyslope, “there’s probably people who don’t even know about it, there are people out there hungry, I know there is and I’m sure their children are, they may have no clue this happens, I would say this is one-tenth, and that’s probably conservative, of the people that are hungry who can come here and eat.”
The fresh and hot carnitas dinner with all the trimmings was free to any and all who showed up at the Santa Maria Veterans Memorial Building for three hours, no questions asked.
“There’s a lot of people out here that have nothing to eat”, said dinner attendee Willie Batson, “they came here together, everybody is happy, dancing, its a beautiful thing.”
Even Santa was on hand to make sure all of the youngsters went home with something to remember about this very special night.
“Yeah its very important because for the whole year, you receive a lot of things, but its not only to receive you also need to give away too, give back, exactly”, Santa said.
The Manos de Angel dinner is paid for by sisters of the same family who do not want any special recognition or attention, saying only that they do it every year as an expression of thanks for their success in life and business and encourage others in the community to follow their example.