The residents of Troy will again have the opportunity to share in a traditional American Thanksgiving meal on November 26th at an authentic Mexican restaurant. For more than two decades, El Sombrero has served a free Thanksgiving meal as a way to give back to the community.

Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, sweet potatoes, rolls, ice tea, and fresh coffee will all be offered and served by volunteers. There will even be soft drinks available for guests. El Sombrero’s suppliers have begun donating soft drinks for this holiday event. The meal will be served from 10:30 AM until 4:00 PM at El Sombrero’s Troy location on County Road 25A.

Ruben Pelayo is the entrepreneur who first opened El Sombrero in 1994 and began the tradition of serving a free turkey dinner on Thanksgiving Day. Although he has been a citizen of the United States for almost 20 years, growing up in Mexico, Pelayo and his family were farmers. His mother was a generous woman and enjoyed feeding people even from what little food their family had. As a young restaurant owner, Pelayo came up with the idea of serving a free Thanksgiving dinner as a way to honor his mother and treat the community like family on an American holiday.

“We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in Mexico; so the tradition did not mean the same thing to us that it did to people here,” Pelayo said. “It means more to us now because we can be a blessing to those who maybe would not be able to cook for themselves or would be alone on Thanksgiving.”

Many of Pelayo’s employees serve on Thanksgiving but many of his customers also sign up to serve. “I think it makes people feel good to give like that,” Pelayo said.

El Sombrero’s second location in Piqua closed on October 4th. “I’m trying to maybe cut the stress,” Pelayo said. “My father passed away 7 months ago and since that happened I’m seeing things a little bit differently.”

Pelayo claims that his business belongs to God. “I just work here,” he said. With this in mind, he and his staff intend to continue the tradition of serving Thanksgiving dinner at El Sombrero indefinitely. According to Pelayo, “No one should be alone on a family holiday.”