The kitchen at the Conley-Guerrero Senior Activity Center was bustling during the Senior Holiday Luncheon.
"For many of them, it's the only Christmas holiday party they're going to get," Tim LaFuente said.
LaFuente used to cook all the food himself when he founded the event 12 years ago as an Austin firefighter. Back then, he was only able to serve 150 seniors.
Now he's retired, but with the help of 50 volunteers — mostly firefighters — he's able to serve 500.
"These folks paid my salary for 31 years," he said. "To be able to give back a little bit and see the joy on their faces, you can't describe that. It's heartwarming and brings a tear to my eye, at the same time to know you're making folks happy."
LaFuente gets most of the food donated and he's able to round up $2,400 to purchase gifts for a raffle.
"What a great event," LaFuente said. "How could you not want to do this? How could you not want to see all these smiling faces every year?"
Giving this hot meal is his way of saying thank you.
"As long as God gives me the strength and mental capacity to get up and do it every year, I will be here until I can't do it anymore," he said.