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Hundreds attend annual community Thanksgiving meal in Nipomo

Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and all the fixings were served today in Nipomo. It was all part of the Paul Teixeira Nipomo Thanksgiving, a popular event held each year to bring the community together.

“It started back in 2011, and it actually started before that with some church groups, and so when Supervisor Teixeira was supervisor, he pulled all those groups together, pulled the service organizations together and decided to do one big event here in our community,” said event coordinator Debbie Geaslen.

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Held at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, the event was a big success. More than 800 people enjoyed the three-hour dinner, which was free of charge for anyone to attend.

“We are serving the community,” said Geaslen. “It’s open to anybody who wants to come and have a meal of Thanksgiving, and who wants to come to meet people, or may not know any one. It’s an opportunity for old neighbors to reacquaint themselves with each other. It’s an opportunity for some spiritual enlightenment from the churches in the community. It’s just a gathering and a meal for our community so that we don’t lose touch of who we all are and what we stand for.”

Created by Teixeira, the late San Luis Obispo County supervisor who died in office in 2013, the dinner is seen as a way to bring local families together on weekend before the Thanksgiving holiday.

“This is something that he always wanted to do for a very long time,” said Geaslen. “So I just knew that I had to continue to do it after he passed, and I can feel him here today.”

Helping put on the event were more than 100 volunteers, who represented several service clubs, youth organizations, schools and local businesses.

“We have Lions, we have the Rotary, we have Nipomo High School, and we have individuals that BBQ and do potatoes, we have people that come in and make homemade gravy,” said Geaslen. “We have the Boy Scouts. We have Five Cities Eco, that comes and does the recycling. We have the 4-H and FFA. It’s just every organization and group puts their fingerprint on something at this event.”

More than 50 turkeys were prepared for the dinner, which in a short period of time, has become one of the most anticipated events held annually in Nipomo.

“It’s very special that we have a community like this where we’re all willing to chip in and be together and spend time together and that’s how we roll. That’s what we are here in Nipomo,” said Geaslen.

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