Thanksgiving in America is a time for family and friendship gatherings and holiday meals; a time of turkeys, stuffing and pumpkin pie. A time for Indian corn and gourds on the doorstep and people helping others share a warm meal and good company.
The first Thanksgiving recorded was in 1621, when the Pilgrims gathered to rejoice in survival through rugged and hard times, and in spite of great loss, to start a new life in the new world. They served a warm meal from what they had with neighboring Native Americans. It wasn’t until Abraham Lincoln appointed a national day of thanksgiving in 1863 that the holiday became official.
Here in Pahrump, far more people than are ever seated at the family table will be served a complimentary Thanksgiving dinner. With the NyE Communities Coalition (NyECC), local churches, the Senior Center, Meals on Wheels and veterans support, the community is invited for a hot meal with all the trimmings.
The event, staged at the NyECC Campus has NyECC Director Stacey Smith expecting to feed a large number of people. “Over a thousand. As many as that and more, may show up,” she said.
The meal is served from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Thanksgiving Day at the Manse Center/multi-purpose room at 1020 E. Wilson Road. This year, over 100 volunteers will work all day, decorating, setting up, serving, taking meals to the homebound and their caregivers, cleaning up and helping to cook.
This year’s Holiday Task Force Committee Chairman Butch Borasky said, “It gets bigger every year.”
“We still need donations and monetary contributions,” said organizer Linda Wright. “We put on a full meal of 40 turkeys, dressing, green beans, mashed potatoes, cranberries, gravy, over 1,000 rolls with butter, pie, coffee, tea, water and soft drinks for kids,” said Wright.
Pahrump and Nye County have the highest homeless count in the state. Second is Lyon County.
This year, veterans living in the desert, who want to attend, will be transported to the NyECC dinner on Thanksgiving.
“Nobody does these things alone,” said Borasky. Turkeys were supplied by Saddle West, mashed potatoes by Desert View Hospital, cranberries by Oasis Outreach and Youth W.E.R.K.S., rolls and butter by the Salvation Army, coffee/tea by St. Martin’s in the Desert Episcopal Church, drinks for the kids and water by NyECC and Desert View Hospital.
Donations are still needed. Non-perishable food and monetary contributions, including grocery store gift cards, are welcome at the NyECC office. Needed items include, canned cranberry sauce, coffee, sugar, artificial sweeteners, paper cups/plates, napkins, to-go boxes and iced-tea mix.
NyECC is not the only organization serving a Thanksgiving meal. The Pahrump Senior Center is serving Wednesday, Nov. 27, with a seating at 11 a.m. and another at noon. The center expects to serve 300 or more seniors 60 and over only, including Meals on Wheels.
Site Manager Anne Blankenship said, “Again this year, Meals on Wheels will be delivered by the Pahrump Fire Department, and delivery will start as early as 9 a.m. on the 27th to 150-plus seniors that are homebound. To do that, we start cooking at 2 a.m. on the 27th.
The cost to seniors for a full Thanksgiving dinner is a suggested $3 donation. This, plus donations from Healthcare Partners of Pahrump allow full service meals like Thanksgiving, Christmas and other special occasions. The center just served a special meal to all veterans.
“Thirty turkeys, 45 pies, and all the standard Thanksgiving fare will be served,” said Blankenship. She said there is an increase in seniors who wouldn’t eat without the center, and couldn’t travel to eat if it were not for Meals on Wheels. Blankenship said, “We still have our grants from the Division of Aging, but we have to reassess all the time since the cutbacks have been enforced. “Thank goodness for Healthcare Partners and our other supporters,” she said.
The town officials shared their thoughts about the holiday.
Dr. Tom Waters, Town Board: “I know it is a Lee Greenwood song cut, ‘I am glad to be in a country where the flag still stands for freedom and I know that I am free…’ I am also thankful for the many veterans and active duty military, that protect that freedom for you and for me. I am thankful for we have a community that understands those ideals and offers so much assistance to the less fortunate.”
Susan Holecheck, Town Manager: “I am so happy to be here, serving in my new community and my new home. Thanksgiving is remembering all the good in our lives and here in Pahrump I have been given the opportunity to share in and be part of organizations that serve others in so many ways. I am honored and thankful to be part of what so many before me have established which reaches out and brings help to others. I look forward to working with and seeing members of the community at the NyECC community Thanksgiving meal on the 28th.”
“Past town board member Laurayne Murray: “I am thankful that I live in a community with a big heart. Every year, I watch this community step up and support the many cases of tragic circumstances that happen in the lives of our neighbors around the world. Our generosity exceeds our size. Thank you, Pahrump, for giving.”