Hundreds of area residents enjoyed a free Thanksgiving dinner courtesy of NyE Community Coalition’s Holiday Task Force.
The annual event on Thanksgiving Day brought forth smiles and good holiday cheer from those who attended the 10-plus year event.
Paul Miller, executive chairman of the Holiday Task Force, said he arrived at the facility just before 3 a.m., to help prepare for the dinner.
“That’s what it takes,” Miller said. “It takes a lot of organizing because we don’t have a big staff. All of my volunteers arrived here at about 9 a.m. or so because all of the food and the prep has to be done by then. This is a full Thanksgiving meal, including of course the turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, and all of the fixings. It’s a regular, traditional Thanksgiving meal, and we are getting better at it every year. We are looking at possibly 500 to 600 meals to be served here this year.”
Though Miller played a crucial role in making the event a reality, he made certain to give credit where credit is due.
“Linda Wright is the real force behind everything,” Miller noted. “She is the one who does all of the hard labor. I just handle the kitchen, the food, the complaints, and of course, getting the donations together and whatever else I can do within the community.”
Regarding the donations, Miller noted that he hasn’t seen the big level of donations as he has seen in the past.
“Unfortunately, we did not do so well with our donations this year, but we do want to thank Bill and Gretchen Loken from Pahrump Valley Winery for their fantastic donation, as well as Mike Floyd from Floyd’s Construction, who also gave us a great donation,” Miller said. “We also had an anonymous donor who gave out a real big donation as well for the Holiday Task Force program. We are really thankful for all of those people who have helped us and hopefully they will continue to support us in the future.”
One supporter was none other than Nye County District 4 Commissioner-Elect Leo Blundo, who volunteered his time to help with the event.
“I have been associated with the community Thanksgiving dinner for the past eight years,” Blundo said. “I do it because it’s good to give. It’s great to give back to the community when you care about where you live. If you want to see good things, you show up to these types of events and help feed people. It’s like every year, where you get to see your extended family. Everyone who comes here, we all know each other.
“This would be nearly impossible without the help of volunteers. We have volunteers who come in year after year to help out.”
Like Miller, Blundo showered praise upon organizer Linda Wright and a former local church pastor.
“Ron Fairbairn, who moved to northern Nevada, actually came down to give the opening prayer, and I was humbled that he was willing to do that,” Blundo said. “Without people like Linda Wright and Pastor Ron, events like this in the community would not happen. I think we need to give a lot of thanks to the people in the community who make this happen. I am just humbled to be a part of it.”
Miller meanwhile, noted an additional aspect to this year’s community dinner.
“We also gave away free winter clothing,” he said. “People just came in and grabbed what they needed. These items, including beanies, blankets, scarves, and jackets, were donated as well. The people were very grateful to receive them We just want to help people keep warm this winter and take care of their basic needs.”
Additionally, Miller said the Holiday Task Force also delivered Thanksgiving dinner to some the valley’s homeless population, by special request.
“The Lighthouse Covenant Church asked us to support their homeless program and there were a total of 52 meals that went out to homeless people in the community,” he said. “These folks are identified to be homeless and we were pleased to help in that effort.”
Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @sharrispvt on Twitter