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Monday, April 15, 2024
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McAllen
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Harmony of Hearts Serving Hope and Nourishment in McAllen’s Thanksgiving Celebration

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This morning, Omar Guevara, the General Manager at the Radisson Hotel in McAllen, Texas, played a crucial role in a large-scale community effort to provide Thanksgiving meals to those in need. In collaboration with at Hope Family Health Center, NHPO, RGV Food Bank, and other community organizations, they aimed to serve more than 1000 meals to registered families from the Hope Clinic. Photo byBy Roberto Hugo González
Omar Guevara, the General Manager at the Radisson Hotel in McAllen, Texas, played a crucial role in a large-scale community effort to provide Thanksgiving meals to those in need. In collaboration with at Hope Family Health Center, NHPO, RGV Food Bank, and other community organizations, they aimed to serve more than 1000 meals to registered families from the Hope Clinic. Photo By Roberto Hugo González
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By Roberto Hugo González

This morning, Omar Guevara, the General Manager at the Radisson Hotel in McAllen, Texas, played a crucial role in a large-scale community effort to provide Thanksgiving meals to those in need. In collaboration with at Hope Family Health Center, NHPO, RGV Food Bank, and other community organizations, they aimed to serve more than 1000 meals to registered families from the Hope Clinic.

Omar explained that the event involved preparing and serving a large number of turkey meals, initially stating they cooked and involved over 80 volunteers from various organizations, including Leadership McAllen and Lone Star National Bank.

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The volunteers began their day at six in the morning, and service started at nine. The event was promoted mainly through the mailing list of Hope Clinic patients and social platforms.

Omar emphasized the importance of giving back to the community, stating that it’s a privilege and honor to help others enjoy a Thanksgiving meal. He also mentioned the participation of his wife Norma Guevara, who led the kitchen efforts, while he managed the parking lot logistics. Reflecting on the broader impact of their work, Omar expressed hope that their actions would inspire a legacy of philanthropy in the community.    

The interview with Omar at the Radisson Hotel parking lot showcases how different sectors of the community, including businesses, non-profit organizations, and individual volunteers, can come together to support those in need.

The logistical efforts behind this event were immense. Cooking turkeys and preparing over hundreds of plates is no small feat, and it required significant planning and coordination. The staff at the Radisson, along with the volunteers, worked tirelessly to ensure the success of the event. Omar’s mention of starting the preparation days in advance and mobilizing volunteers early in the morning shows the dedication and commitment involved.

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Roxanne Ramirez

Roxanne Ramirez, serving as the Executive Director at Hope Family Health Center, demonstrated remarkable leadership in supporting the underserved. Her dedication was especially evident during this significant community event held at the Radisson Hotel parking lot. There, Roxanne shared her heartfelt joy in witnessing the collaboration of numerous community partners committed to giving back. She stressed the profound impact of such acts of generosity, highlighting how they enhance the spirit of both givers and receivers.

This impactful initiative began three years ago when Roxanne took the leadership at Hope Clinic. The idea emerged during a discussion about a staff turkey luncheon celebration. Amidst these preparations, a patient seeking canned goods for Thanksgiving approached the clinic. Aware of the challenging financial circumstances of their mostly uninsured patients, who typically have very low median incomes, the clinic staff chose to refocus their efforts from the internal celebration to supporting the wider community.

Initially, this redirected effort resulted in providing meals to approximately 200 people. Under Roxanne’s guidance and the clinics team, the initiative has since expanded substantially. The clinic is now capable of preparing and distributing hundreds of plates, collaborating with other non-profits like Emily’s Meals, Mujeres Unidas, Angels of Love, and the Salvation Army, all united in their mission to aid those in need.

Her work is a powerful reminder of the difference that can be made through community engagement and compassion.

Emilio Santos

Emilio Santos is another champion helping the community. He serves as the Treasurer for the National Hispanic Professional Organization (NHPO) and also works for Lone Star National Bank. I forgot to mention that he also leads a successful 7 Leguas Mariachi group. He was actively involved in coordinating the distribution of turkey meals to the underserved at the Radisson Hotel parking lot, highlighting his commitment to community service.

Emilio’s role in both Lone Star National Bank and the NHPO exemplifies a balance between professional development and community engagement, showcasing the impact that individuals and organizations can have in supporting and uplifting their local communities.

Gloria Jean Ramirez

Gloria Jean Ramirez is the Shelter Manager at Mujeres Unidas, located in McAllen, Texas. Mujeres Unidas operates a critical emergency shelter that serves victims fleeing domestic violence or sexual assault. Remarkably, the shelter is accessible 24/7 and offers all its services free of charge, ensuring that those in dire need have immediate and cost-free access to safety and support.

In the context of the event where food plates are being distributed, Gloria plays a pivotal role. While she was not directly involved in the preparation or distribution of the food, her participation was instrumental in a different way. She ensures that the prepared meals reach the families residing in the shelter, providing them with a warm lunch and meal. This act of coordinating and facilitating the distribution of food significantly eases the daily challenges faced by these families.

Biel Balderas

Biel Balderas, a member of the Business Development Department at Lone Star National Bank, demonstrated commendable community spirit and dedication. Her participation began early in the morning, around 6:00 AM, where she was involved in preparing plates for a large crowd. This effort was part of the bank’s community service initiative.

Lone Star National Bank, recognized as “the Valley’s Bank,” consistently plays an active role in supporting the community. Biel’s personal motivation for participating in this event was driven by a desire to give back to the community, especially considering the challenges faced by many during a difficult year. 

Dianita Zapata, a patient at Hope Clinic, expressed her gratitude for the event organized by the clinic, and other nonprofits, including the Radisson Hotel. She told Texas Border Business that after dropping her daughters off at school, she quickly went to pick up her share of turkey. She commented that the actions of the clinic and all the participants are very positive. “I feel blessed,” said Dianita, “four members of my family will have a good Thanksgiving dinner.” Her appreciation reflects the positive impact that these initiatives have on the community.

Norma Guevara

Norma Guevara, Director of Sales and Catering at Radisson McAllen Airport, led a significant food drive, showcasing strong community spirit and teamwork. The Radisson team, along with food bank donations, prepared a feast including turkey, green beans, corn, and mashed potatoes, embodying both culinary excellence and community engagement.

The kitchen environment was marked by joy and unity, reflecting a deep commitment to community service. This successful initiative, marked by teamwork and gratitude towards all participants, including the Radisson team, Hope Clinic, volunteers, and sponsors, is already being planned for next year, aiming for an even greater impact.

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