Family-owned Rio Rancho McDonald’s free Thanksgiving meal among several across the metro

[anvplayer video=”5073704″ station=”998127″]

RIO RANCHO, N.M. – Folks in Rio Rancho got a free Thanksgiving meal Thursday morning – all thanks to a family-owned McDonald’s.

"You know that nobody is left without a meal on Thanksgiving, that would be my heaven right?" said Clemy Garza, the owner of the McDonald’s on Rio Rancho Boulevard.

Garza’s family has opened up their restaurant every Thanksgiving for 35 years, offering a friendly place for people to spend the holiday when they have nowhere else to go. Organizers had to switch to drive-thru only during the pandemic. Volunteers typically handed out a full Thanksgiving meal inside. Instead, folks got to pick out a free meal from some well-known McDonald’s menu items.

"We’re still able to give them comfort, we’re still able to be there for them and we’re still able to see them and the tradition continues to where we’re still able to basically give them a hug," she said.

Last year, the family was able to serve more than 1,100 people. Garza says it wouldn’t be possible without the nearly three-dozen employees filling orders and all of the volunteers from St. Felix food pantry.

The entire Brewster family was at the event Thursday morning to help give back to the community amid the pandemic.

"Our family’s had a really lucky last year and so we felt this was important for our family to get out here and be together and do this for our community," Stephanie Brewster said.

Garza says she wants to bring the event back inside with a full Thanksgiving spread next year.