As wild and unpredictable as 2020 has been, it’s almost hard to believe that we’re coming into its home stretch! It’s now officially November and the holiday season is upon us. This is the time of year when many families start making preparations to gather for occasions such as Thanksgiving. However, especially this year, many families may be heading into the holidays with a real need. They may not be able to afford a traditional dinner, and that’s a rough reality.
Thankfully, we have our returning guests of Stacy Medina and Tabitha Tabitha Escalanti-Stanley from Thanksgiving Dinner for the Kids, still working hard to bring hope and joy to many families in our community!
Now, Stacey and Tabitha have joined us before, two years ago, to talk with us about Thanksgiving Dinner for the Kids. In that feature, Stacy explained how the passion project got started and where their hearts were for it. If you’d like to go back and check that out, you can do so HERE.
However, if you want a quick refresher, Thanksgiving Dinner for the Kids aims to provide meals for families in need during the Thanksgiving holiday. In the past, Stacy and Tabitha have worked with the community to collect food for this cause. They then pass the food on to their other partners at Communities in Schools, who use their resources to properly distribute the items to those in need.
The fantastic team of Stacy and Tabitha have been running this operation every year for the past five years, and guess that they have served around eight hundred families over this time! This number includes kids out as far as Jackpot! They’re hoping to one day turn Thanksgiving Dinner for the Kids into a full-fledged non-profit organization.
This year, we wanted to bring them back to see how the mission was going in light of everything happening in the world right now. For example, Stacy and Tabitha still work with Communities in Schools to feed these families; however, they’re unable actually to give out food this year. This Fall, the ladies have been raising money (checks, gift cards etc.) of which they’ll give to Communities in Schools to hand out to families with the need.
Thank you for joining us again this year, Stacy and Tabitha! As we mentioned, this year has been very different for you all, and you’ve had to adjust your approach to this whole thing. Can you explain a little more about how things are working this year?
Tabitha- We work really close with Community in Schools, and we feed all of Elko County School District. This year is obviously a little different. Normally, we have a cap of feeding one hundred and fifty families, but we do not have a cap this year. We just go with whatever donations we get. Since we can’t get food, we’ll do a set amount of money for each family.
Stacy- Because of the liability, we can’t handout food. Other organizations have volunteers who can wipe everything down. Here, it’s just us! However, we don’t know the families being given the money! We don’t have anything to do with that part. We collect the money, and in the past, the food, and Communities in Schools handle the rest.
Tabitha- We presented the idea of money donations to Communities in Schools, and they had to vote to approve it. All the checks we get are made out directly to them.
How far in advance did you have to start prepping for this year? Was there any concern that it may not be able to happen at all?
Tabitha- We usually start in July or August. This year, we started really late.
Stacy- We said we weren’t going to do it on September 1st, and then we finally announced that we were going to do it on October 8th! But people have been really reaching out to us!
Tabitha- It was very conflicting because we had to think about our families too.
Stacy- Neither of us work. If we get sick doing this for the community, and then our husbands get sick, we have no income. And Tabitha also has her littles. It was hard; I literally had a breakdown at one point because I didn’t think we were going to be able to do this. I was also going through a bit of depression, but that sent me right over the edge. As soon as we finally decided that we were going to do it this year, I all of a sudden felt better!
We’re sure there will be people out there who have some opposition to giving people money to purchase food. How would you respond to the concern?
Tabitha- We have to have faith! We can’t control what the people do once they get the money; we can only have faith that they’ll use it for their family’s Thanksgiving dinner.
Stacy- This is why we give everything to Communities in Schools and let them handle who gets it. We don’t want that headache! What we already do is three months of headaches, but it’s worth it!
Great answers! Well, despite the challenging circumstances, thank you both for still having such a big passion for helping others! We’re sure that this means so much to so many families! Is there anything else you’d like to share before we let you get back to collecting money for turkeys and pies?
Stacy- It’s just us two doing this. People still may not know or get that. And we’re not doing this for recognition or anything but the kids!
Tabitha- We’re doing this for kids in our community because they are our future. We want to teach the kids to give back to their community. This is a family holiday, and that’s what we’re big on.
Stacy- Especially in this day and age, we all need to be thankful for something. I’m tired of red and blue; we all need to focus on Elko and be one!
If you’d like more information or would like to get in contact with Thanksgiving Dinner for the Kids, you can reach Stacy and Tabitha through their Facebook Page: HERE
On November 15th, you can also stop by the “big” Khoury’s Market in Spring Creek (1-3 PM) and donate to Thanksgiving Dinner for the Kids in person! Stacy and Tabitha will be there, so plan on dropping by and getting involved!
You can stay caught up on everything going on around here at AAT by checking out our “Stay Connected” page! Make sure you never miss a feature!
Until next time, we’ll see you around, Elko!