‘Food is love’: Long-held community Thanksgiving dinner comes to Convenience West for 3rd year

Gabriel and Lionel Camacho Jones chow down at last year’s free community Thanksgiving. Photo courtesy of Mark Scott.

MARFA — The tradition of hosting a free community Thanksgiving dinner, started decades ago at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, continues this year with the help of local restaurant Convenience West. 

This marks the third year Convenience West has played host to the time-honored event. Father Mike Wallens will offer a Celebration of Thanksgiving at 10:30 a.m. followed by meal service from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 23. To-go options will be available. 

The meal is potluck style. Guests are welcome to bring a side dish, dessert or donation for the Marfa Food Pantry, although it is not required. Convenience West will provide their award-winning barbecue and smoked turkey. 

Allison Scott, whose mother started the event in the late ‘60s or early ‘70s, and whose son Mark Scott, one of the owners of Convenience West, will help host this year, said she hopes everyone feels welcome to participate in the special meal. 

“If you have a dish to share, absolutely, but if you don’t, come on anyway,” said Scott. “Because it’s breaking bread with people, saying hello to old friends and meeting new friends. I think that should be the focus.” 

“Food is love,” she added. 

Scott herself, as well as Dedie Taylor, helped organize the event with other volunteers at the church for years. Scott said what began as a gathering between close families has grown to include the entire small town community as well as visitors over time. It is not unusual for the event to attract 150 to 200 individuals, she said. 

One year the National Guard, who was serving in the area, turned up for the meal. A couple from San Antonio who are regular attendees have recently taken up the tradition started by Lonn Taylor of serving mimosas. 

After a hiatus in 2020 due to the pandemic, Convenience West began hosting the event in 2021 due to its availability of outdoor space. That year, said Scott, Meals on Wheels, a program of the Marfa Nutrition Center, also got involved and distributed 75 meals and served 150 people. She said she expects those deliveries will take place again this year. 

Scott said she was proud of her son for carrying on the family tradition of a free community Thanksgiving and that it represents an important time for the town to come together. 

“Mark is a third generation in the family now to be involved in this community Thanksgiving that really just started as a family event and then expanded,” said Scott. “It’s really precious and I’m very proud to be a part of it, and I hope that it continues.” 

Convenience West is located at 1411 West San Antonio St. in Marfa. For more information, call 214-862-7292 or 432-386-2433.