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El Sombrero continues tradition

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By Mercy Lopez

Helen Rivera knows about giving back to the community and saying thanks. Rivera, owner of El Sombrero restaurant, will continue her tradition of offering free Thanksgiving meals from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday at the eatery located at 825 Mills Ave.

Rivera started offering the free traditional Thanksgiving meal in 1996 when she first purchased the business. Since then the tradition has grown with hundreds going in for a free meal.

This year, Rivera has purchased 15 large turkeys — the biggest she could find — to feed her guests. In addition, they will serve up roughly 40 pounds of ham, two large cases of mashed potatoes, and roughly nine large trays of stuffing along with salad and cranberry sauce.

Oh, and you can’t forget, Rivera’s natillas, a custard, that will cap the traditional meal. Rivera said she has already prepared 25 gallons of the sweet sugar, egg and milk delicacy.

Rivera said she is making more natillas this year as the custard, along with the stuffing, are the first to go during the dinner.

Volunteers help serve the meal and clean up. Rivera said the band of Molly and Florian will also entertain the crowd.