MetroAccess employee coordinates annual community thanksgiving meal–feeds 2,000

What a wonderful lesson in why it’s rewarding to get to know your coworkers. I mean really get to know them. Sure, around the office, you know that Jody makes the best coffee, and if you really need a thorough report, Alissa will deliver. But the workday is only a third (maybe a half) of a person’s day, and oh, the wonder that occurs outside of the ‘8-5,’ made so by a person’s hobbies, interests, beliefs.

In 2010, more than 2,000 people enjoyed a home-cooked turkey dinner at the Fiestas Patrias of Austin Community Thanksgiving Dinner. This year's free event is on Nov. 19.

This past week Capital Metro CEO Linda S. Watson discovered something wonderful about a coworker when she was visiting our facilities to participate in our annual Thanksgiving meal. MetroAccess Lead Service Coordinator Julius Velasquez, who’s been working for Capital Metro more than 20 years, is also the driving force behind a local non-profit organization that has contributed more than $600,000 to the East Austin community.

For the past ten years, Julius has been president of Fiestas Patrias of Austin, which hosts the annual Diez y Seiz and Cinco de Mayo festivals at Fiesta Gardens. In addition to promoting Mexican-American culture, Fiestas Patrias funds scholarships for college bound Hispanics and other community programs, such as the annual community Thanksgiving dinner (more on that in a minute).

MetroAccess Lead Service Coordinator Julius Velasquez, left, with his dad Gilbert Velasquez. Gilbert founded Fiestas Patrias of Austin in 1978.

Fiestas Patrias is a family affair; it was founded by Julius’ father, Gilbert Velasquez, in 1978. Both father and son live (and have lived) within the neighborhood their organization serves.

You can get a taste–quite literally–of what Fiestas Patrias has to offer, at the 16th annual community Thanksgiving dinner, this Saturday, Nov. 19, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The meal will be served at the A.B. Cantu Recreation Center, 2100 E. Third Street. Pick up routes 17, 21/22, or 320 for a ride to the center. This is a FREE home-cooked traditional Thanksgiving meal, including turkey, dressing, gravy, mashed potatoes, whole kernel corn and green beans. About 100 volunteers, including some of Julius’ coworkers at MetroAccess, will cook and serve about 2,000 meals this coming Saturday. Awesome.

Fiesta Patrias of Austin Community Thanksgiving Dinner
Saturday, November 19, 2011
A.B. Cantu Recreation Center, 2100 E. Third Street (routes 17, 21/22, or 320)
11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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