County residents, which included members of Westley and Pattersons’ 4-H, FFA, Booster and Lion’s club, came together on a warm Thursday evening to cook nearly 300 lbs. of meat—all of which raised by West Side youth for the 2013 Stanislaus County Fair.
Hundreds of buyers were in attendance as well, prompting a night of frivolity, fun and folksy tidings for hundreds of hungry patrons.
As custom, FFA and 4-H students welcomed guests to the humble hall by handing out tickets and serving the long line of devoted customers with more than adequate portions of lamb, pig and various other side dishes.
Co-coordinator Patrick Alves said the team were supporting roughly 23 pigs, 13 goats, 17 lambs and 2 rabbits. So far that evening, Alves claimed that many of the consumers had gone through 110 lbs. of lamb and 140 lbs. of pork Thursday night alone.
“It’s all for the kids,” said Alves as he watched various community members, including Richard Lopes, Bobby Yamamoto, David Sarasqueta, Steve Trinta and various other agriculturalists, barbequing the feast behind Masonic Hall. “We’ll always do our best to support Patterson 4-H and FFA kids in our school district.”
Alves, however, preached that the turnout’s success was beyond his influence. The tradition, he said, began in the sixties and would never come to fruition without the aid of fellow community members.
“We couldn’t have done it without the community’s support,” said Alves. “They are just as invested in these kids.”
Former Patterson resident and CEO of J. M. Equipment Co., Inc. Ray Azevedo has been involved with the Appreciation Dinner for 15 years, despite living in Hilmar for over 20 years.
His obligations to Patterson’s 4-H and FFA organizations have surpassed the test of time, thanks to fond memories of days gone by.
“This reminds me of FFA back in the old days,” he said. “But we’ve never had a group like this to stand by the kids,” Azevedo admitted, pointing out various members in attendance. “If it weren’t for these individuals keeping these groups alive, the kids would fall right through the cracks. They’re a great group of people.”
Azevedo said that he continues to support the cause because he feels it teaches kids something more than they can learn in a classroom setting.
“It teaches them about finances, responsibility…” Azevedo said.
“And, learning to let go,” added Alves, signaling a pork chop. “That’s the hardest lesson.”
Contact Brooke Borba at 892-6187, ext. 24, or firstname.lastname@example.org.