By Charlene Dean
Americans will take time to join family and friends tomorrow in celebration of Thanksgiving.
The standard turkey and stuffing with all the trimmings will be available to most every resident of the valley thanks to the generous donations of local residents and the tireless efforts of NyE Communities Coalition Holiday Task Force, charity organizations like the Salvation Army, local churches and food banks.
NyECC will host the annual community meal from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday in the multi-purpose room of the organization’s campus, 1020 E. Wilson Road.
This is the first year the facility’s kitchen will be used in preparing most of the food. Although both the Thanksgiving meal and the Christmas dinner were served at the campus last year, the licenses and inspections had not been completed enabling staff to utilize the campus kitchen.
The equipment is still not enough to accommodate all those turkeys, so the 42 birds will be roasted at Wulfy’s, Southern Nevada Detention Center, Saddle West and the Pahrump Nugget and delivered to the kitchen for service. The turkeys were donated by six area businesses and a number of private individuals.
The kitchen, headed by NyECC Holiday Task Force Committee member Fiona Layton, is organized and should run smoothly. “Last year I was just a volunteer,” she said. “It was the first time we had ever tried to serve a meal out of the facility. Now we have the proper license to cook, it’s going to be so much easier.”
Layton said the meal will be turkey and the stuffing, mashed potatoes, yams, green beans, macaroni and cheese, rolls with butter, cranberry sauce and a choice of apple or pumpkin pie for dessert.
“We served 800 people last year, including the deliveries for home-bound residents,” Layton said. “This year we expect to serve 1,000.”
Linda DeMeo, NyECC Holiday Task Force organizer since 2007, is serving as the delivery coordinator this year. Layton said the deadline for advanced sign up was Monday. However, it’s not too late.
DeMeo said she will still take requests. “It’s important that we are able to help those coming out of difficult situations. Someone may just be getting out of the hospital or they have just gone through a trauma in their lives. Everyone should have a Thanksgiving meal.”
She said anyone who needs a meal delivered can call her at 209-4683. There is a limit of four meals per address.
This morning, some of those less fortunate will find a surprise when visiting their local food banks.
KNYE’s Karen Jackson held a food drive in Wulfy’s parking lot Saturday, where she was seeking “donations of anything to make a Thanksgiving meal.”
Jackson said the effort was unbelievably successful. “The people who donated were so very, very generous and I thank them all from the very bottom of my heart.
“I was able to give food to all the local food banks and we collected enough food for the veterans to fill two trucks.”
The VFW food pantry had requested non-perishables, items which required no cooking, paper products and toiletries. A spokesperson at the VFW said Monday, “We did very well. We received a number of turkeys and have been passing those out to our veterans today.”
The VFW also partners with NyECC and provides some of the food for the community meal.
Cathy Doughty manages the food bank for Faith Fellowship Church on Blagg Road. She said, “We are so happy to be able to bless so many families. We purchased some turkeys but more were donated.”
She said Wednesday, when the food bank opens, “everyone will get a turkey.” She said the goal was to have 55 birds, but she will have 60 to give to less fortunate families, who will also find other goodies to complete the holiday meal.
Path of Hope food bank director Sandy Tucker said the organization distributed 150 turkeys last Wednesday. “We serve over 400 families every week here,” Tucker said.
The turkeys were donated through Path of Hope’s affiliation with Three Square, an organization which offers discounted food prices and distribution of donated food items. She said the food bank gets anywhere from 10,000 to 12,000 pounds of food from them each week.
Oasis Outreach also benefited from KNYE’s efforts. Organizer Jackie Wondra said, the turkeys have been delivered to the food bank’s regular clients. “We have about 12 families who come on a regular basis.” She said the birds were frozen solid and she wanted people to have time to properly thaw them.
There are a few more Thanksgiving options for those who want to go out for a holiday meal. Of course, all the casino buffets will be open.
Every year, Jan Jensen, owner of the Maverick Saloon and Dance Hall on Mesquite Avenue, feeds anyone who wants a little company. The meal is free and manager Stephanie said, “We usually get about 20 people. It’s quiet and we see the folks who live alone and have no family here.”
The Amargosa Opera House Cafe will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for a Thanksgiving buffet. Opera House Director Rich Regnell said, “We’re going to have a huge meal available here. All-you-can-eat turkey and lots of trimmings.” The price will be $16.99 and includes a beverage. Make reservations at 760-852-4441.
Regnell said the opera house will be hosting movies Thanksgiving evening, although he wasn’t sure what was showing. “The cost is a donation to the Opera House.”
Irene’s Casino on East Street is serving a roasted turkey dinner for $10.99. They will also offer two cuts of prime rib, the eight-ounce will be $13.99 and the 12-ounce will be $15.99. Each meal comes with a choice of sides and dessert.
Mountain Falls Grill Room will offer a traditional buffet with turkey, cornbread stuffing, sausage and pine nut stuffing, a mixed green salad, Brussels sprouts, green bean casserole, candied yams, cranberry sauce, a pineapple-glazed ham carving station, rolls, and for dessert, pumpkin, apple or pecan pie with ice cream on request.
The cost is $25 for adults, $12 for children 12 and under and those under 5 eat free.
The restaurant is taking reservations for two of the three scheduled seatings at 537-6553. The 1:30 p.m. seating is full but spokesperson Nancy said there are still openings for the 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. mealtimes.
Symphony’s Restaurant at Pahrump Valley Winery is booked solid, but Stockman’s Steakhouse at the Pahrump Nugget still has a few reservations left. The Thanksgiving menu includes a traditional turkey or ham dinner for $21.99. Call 751-6500 for reservations.