WATSON -- A local restaurant is getting into the Thanksgiving spirit — while adding a touch of Mexican flavor.

Casa Maria, a popular eatery in Watson, donated 4,000 tacos to 19 Livingston parish schools just before the Thanksgiving break. In addition, the restaurant is donating 200 tacos every day from Monday through Thanksgiving day to local nursing homes and first responders.

Fahim Jamil, owner of Casa Maria, said he has wanted to do something to show his appreciation for the community’s support “for a long time.” And with the holidays arriving soon, what better time than now, he said.

“We just wanted to do a Thanksgiving gift for the whole community and thank them for all the years of supporting us,” Jamil said while his employees prepared food in the kitchen. “We’ve been wanting to do this for a long time, and here it is.”

Employees arrived at Casa Maria around 7 a.m. last Friday to prepare 4,000 beef and cheese tacos for teachers at nearly 20 local schools. The fixings such as lettuce and tomatoes were prepared the night before.

Teachers from around the area arrived at the restaurant around lunchtime to pick up their scrumptious orders, and all threw many thanks on Jamil and his staff for their act of kindness.

To Jamil and his staff — who prepare thousands of tacos during their most festive events such as Cinco de Mayo — it wasn’t a problem at all.

“We have eight of us back there making 4,000 tacos — you can’t beat that,” Jamil said. “We love doing it. We’re a young crew here, and we love doing stuff for the community. We don’t come here to work, we come here to have a good time and socialize with people and help the community. That’s what we’re here for.”

This isn’t the first time Casa Maria has reached out to the community. Jamil said the restaurant made tacos, chimichangas, and chips and salsa for people hit by the Great Flood of 2016, which also affected his restaurant and employees.

“We knew a lot of people were flooded, and we were also flooded here,” Jamil said. “So we couldn’t do much…. But we drove around the whole neighborhood and brought food to at least 300 houses and donated the rest to first responders.”

“We try to do as much as we can for our community.”

Jamil said Casa Maria will donate around 800 tacos to the Council on Aging, the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office, and local firefighters during Thanksgiving week.

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