A Time to Give Back



The Casteneda family giving back to the least of us in the way they know best
The Casteneda family giving back to the least of us in the way they know best


BRAWLEY – The Castaneda family is known for their community spirit.  This Thanksgiving the Hacienda Restaurant, owned by Mario Castaneda, hosted a Thanksgiving feast at the Lion Center in Brawley for who ever needed or wanted to come and eat.


Mario’s son, Matt, said, “It is a good way to give back to the community.”


Last year the sons, Matt and Steven, helped Rosie Van Veen fulfill her husband’s dream when she hosted a similar dinner.  This year the Castanedas felt it was time for them to do one.  With the help of family and friends, they did.


Close to 300 people came, ate, and went away with some leftovers.  There was plenty for everyone.


The BESD helped by sending flyers home with the students who participate in the Backpack program.  Word of mouth spread and many who might not have had a holiday meal, were fed.


One man said he had walked over from Westmoreland since the buses weren’t running on Thanksgiving.  Grandpa Alfredo Salas brought 6 of his grandchildren.


He was happy just to sit and watch them eat pie and mashed potatoes.  Stephanie and Rafael were happy with the added whipped cream and the coloring sheets.


BUHS students earned their community service hours.


Extra meals were taken to the group of folks who camp out in Kissee Park by Big John’s.


All the volunteers were fed as well and all agreed that Mario and his sons roast a great turkey.


Mario said he plans to do it again next year.  So keep your eyes open for the date and make sure those who need a meal or those who just don’t want to cook a big meal any longer get there.


Thank you Castaneda family for the love and support you show to our town. You all are one reason Brawley is a good place to live.