Thanksgiving at St. Vincent's Dining Room: 1,200 Fed - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Thanksgiving at St. Vincent's Dining Room: 1,200 Fed

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Standing in the morning cold a full hour before the gate opened, Tammy Tyra told us what brought her here. Her career as a big rig driver went from cash rich to barely affordable. "The fuel prices nowadays, they're expensive, especially if you're an owner-operator."

12 places behind her, Don Girdler says he always worked. Then 10 years ago he had a stroke. His lucrative career, that took him to Saudi Arabia and other locations, ended. "Yeah, it was over. Yep...sure was. I'm alive, that's how I look at it...I'm alive."

And we met Biff. He explains his hard times, with one word. "Alcohol." Alike most everyone else we met in line at St. Vincent's, he never dreamed he'd be in line for a free meal. "No. No I didn't...no I did not."

The stories are not new to Ray Trevino. He's been running the show as director of the St. Vincent's Dining Room for 22 years. This year, there are more stories than ever. Ray says, "It's an everyday struggle to make ends meet."

Tough times are certainly nothing new. This Thanksgiving meal tradition began, in 1961. John Ascuaga's Nugget has been footing the bill for this for 51 years, often offering more than what Ray Trevino asks for. Ray says when he started in 1991, at first he was embarrassed to ask for too much, so Mr. Ascuaga inflated the numbers himself. Ray says this year, he said he needed food for 1,100. Mr. Ascuaga came up with 1,200.

The dining room finally opens. Working the food line is Governor Sandoval. Channel 2's Jennifer Burton is on wait staff. They, and 100 other volunteers are very busy…they expect to feed 1200 people.

Ray has 700 pounds of turkey and 135 pumpkin pies. It doesn't sound like enough, but there's no sign of worry on Ray's face. He's seen miracles here before, like the time his cook said the soup ran out. "We came out here to take a look, we both looked in the pot, he says wait a minute, that wasn't there a moment ago. That's a true story. Somehow it multiplied. For us to run out of food…the Lord is not going to let that happen."

-written by John Potter

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