On Thursday, November 23, Thanksgiving Day, Chef Rafael Perez and a dozen students and volunteers far from celebrating the date with their families dedicated their time and talent to cooking and serving lunch to some 400 people at the Annual Thanksgiving Day Brunch, organized by 12th Ward Alderman George Cárdenas.

Perez, chef and instructor of Culinary Arts at St. Augustine College, was joined by students and volunteers Jesus Perez, Samantha Negro, Emily Negro, Hilda Negro, Eloisa Macias, Paty Macias, Ms. Patricia, “Wiso” and Gianina Gomez Perez who went with her daughter Rafaela. They cooked for two days and served guests such traditional holiday dishes as turkey, mashed sweet potatoes, potatoes and ham.

Alderman George Cardenas said some 1,200 turkeys were given to families that day and they also provided a lunch that was prepared by St. Augustine College’s Culinary Arts students.

“We are here with a lot of love to give other people what we have, especially on a day like today. That is very important for me and my students,” said Chef Pérez.