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November 20, 2012
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Tahoe Community Thanksgiving Celebration |Come one, come all to share the day

TAHOE, Calif. - Are you looking for something to do on Thanksgiving Day this year? Why not plan to volunteer and attend the Tahoe Community Thanksgiving Potluck Celebration at the North Tahoe Event Center in Kings Beach.

Thanksgiving Day can be an emotionally difficult time for many people. They might have memories of better times or even thoughts of less than successful family gatherings. Holiday histories run the gambit from joyful to depressing and from fabulous to awful. "It's time to create new memories and new traditions," said Meera Beser of United for Action, a community collaboration of nonprofit agencies and faith-based groups.

Webster's Dictionary defines gratitude as "the state of being thankful." Wouldn't you love to live in that state?" Beser thinks those who live at Tahoe get to live in the "State of Thankfulness" 24/7.

"Just look around," she said. "This is a community where hundreds of people will gather together to support a friend in joy or sorrow, in need or in abundance and it has beautiful views as well."

Beser decided that with a little help she might be able to encourage the members of this community in a big way and so the Tahoe Community Thanksgiving Potluck Celebration was created. "The title is a little long," she opined. "But what else could we call it?" This event is an opportunity to get to know your neighbors better, meet new friends and build strong relationships. "There is much written about the mental and physical health benefits of strong community ties," she said.

It is unusual for an event to have a successful first season. But, according to organizers, the inaugural Tahoe Community Thanksgiving Potluck Celebration was a big hit last year. "It certainly exceeded our expectations," said event organizers. This was due to the wonderful, hardworking volunteers and to the incredible community support. About 275 people attended the event and another 200 meals were sent home to people who could not attend. Apparently, everyone had such a great time that repeated requests for a second annual event could not be ignored.

In light of the demand for more food and fun in typical North Tahoe style, the second annual Tahoe Community Thanksgiving Potluck Celebration will be held on Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012 Thanksgiving Day, at the North Tahoe Event Center. It is open seating so guests are welcome anytime between 2 and 6:30 p.m.

According to organizers it is a family friendly event with food and fun activities for everyone. Entertainment will include live music from the "Truckee Roundabouts" and the possibility other local musicians on stage. The dance instructor from last year's event is not able to attend but she is looking for a substitute. The big screen TV will be plugged in for sports fans and the children's corner will be open with games and art projects to help keep the kids amused.

According to the event coordinator Beser, this is a community celebration, not a soup kitchen. However, she likes to tell people the event is "an outreach to the hungry, homeless or lonely cleverly disguised as a community party because no one really wants to admit to being hungry, homeless or lonely."

Beser said of last year, "We entertained people from all walks of life and several different cultures; everyone had a great time."

Admission is by donation and the options include one or more of the following: 1. Being an active volunteer before, during or after the event; 2. Bringing non-perishable foods for Project MANA; 3. Potluck food to share; 4. Cash donations of $2 per person or $5 per family; 5. New unwrapped toy for the local Toys for Tots.

Elaine Durazo is the coordinator for the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots Tahoe Truckee program. She said teenagers are the ones who are most often forgotten. Elaine can be reached at 530-583-5581 or 800 308-2463 if you have questions about the toys.

If you want to help, but can't attend on Thursday there are opportunities on Wednesday to help set-up, decorate and cook. There is no need to call ahead, just go to the Event Center between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you are going on Thanksgiving Day itself, volunteers are advised to arrive early or stay late, but take big appetites and plan on having a good time.

The Second Annual Tahoe Community Thanksgiving Potluck Celebration will be held on Thursday, Nov. 22 Thanksgiving Day, at the North Tahoe Event Center, 8318 North Lake Blvd. in Kings Beach. Dinner is open seating and the festivities will start at 2 p.m. Guests are welcome anytime between 2 and 6:30 p.m. If you have any questions call Meera Beser 775-230-1066.

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Nov 20, 2012 12:56PM Published Nov 20, 2012 12:50PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.