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With Halloween behind us, households look ahead to the next big holiday Thanksgiving. A time for us to gather with friends and family to count your blessings and be grateful for our abundance.

For many in our community, the holiday isn’t a scene from a Hallmark movie. For the 10th year, The Schooner Restaurant & Lounge and The Upstairs Bar & Grill will host a Thanksgiving Dinner Benefit on Thursday, Nov. 28, to support the local Oregon Food Bank Tillamook County Services. 100 percent of all proceeds will be donated to the Food Bank.

This is the largest fundraiser for the Oregon Food Bank Tillamook Services, and as with most events was created quite organically – from the heart of Tommy Flood Jr. It began as “orphan Thanksgiving” with the staff, family and folks with no place to go on the holiday congregating at The Schooner where everyone just pitched in, but over the years the gathering just grew, and grew, and grew, raising over $25,000 this past year.

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Tommy passed away in January and this year The Schooner staff and general manager, Lexie Fields are going it alone. “It’s been a challenge,” Fields said. “So much of this event just ‘happened’ almost magically at times, and now we’ve been challenged to figure out how all of the pieces fit together. We are so grateful for our community and local producers that step up to help out in so many ways to ensure this event continues and Tommy’s vision lives on.”

Several years ago, The Schooner decided to add a Silent Dessert Auction which will take place this year on Tuesday, Nov. 26.

“In past years, we held the auction on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and a lot of people couldn’t attend with family coming into town or they were prepping their own meals,” Fields said. “So, we are hoping that by having the auction on Tuesday this year, more folks will be able to come out and enjoy the fun.”

The "dessert" auction has grown into an event that is more than just desserts. Of course, there are the requisite cakes, cookies and pies, but there are also fun packages like donated beer from The Pelican and pairing of wine and other adult beverages with desserts.

“The goal is to donate a product that will fetch the highest bid and these locals can get a bit competitive which keeps the event lively,” Fields said.

The auction is held at The Schooner and The Upstairs Bar & Grill from 4-7 p.m. Desserts and donations may be dropped off at either location the day of the auction.

On Thursday, Nov. 28, a traditional Thanksgiving meal is served at both The Schooner Restaurant and The Upstairs Bar & Grill in Netarts. Dinners will be served from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. All meals are donation based.

“We ask that our guests pay what they can, and many contribute much more than the cost of the meal. We’re here to raise money for The Food Bank, however we’re also here to make sure everyone may enjoy a Thanksgiving meal and no one goes hungry on our watch,” Fields said. “Thanksgiving is about being thankful for what we have and giving to those who are in need. We are hopeful that our guests will give generously towards the fight against hunger here in our own community. For those who may be unable to give, please enjoy a meal on us...no one will be turned away.”

And, they will deliver – that’s right, many of our community members aren’t able to get out, so The Schooner will bring the meal to them. Please call the restaurant to place an order for a home delivered Thanksgiving meal.

Reservations are  strongly recommended for The Schooner, but not required. To make reservations, call The Schooner at (503)815-9900.

The only way that this amazing event happens is with the support of volunteers.

“Our volunteers are amazing! Many have never spent a day in the service industry and I always threaten to hire at least one of them every year! Most of our volunteers make this a family affair and it’s now their holiday tradition,” Fields said. “They come volunteer and then sit down to have dinner with us!”

Click on the link below for volunteer opportunities. https://signup.com/client/invitation2/secure/3029824/false#/invitation

“This community-grown event is just amazing,” said Mis Carlson-Swanson, Oregon Food Bank Tillamook Services Manager. “I will never forget my first year volunteering and as I was helping one of the customers to her car, she turned to me and with tears in her eyes, said ‘This is the first time I've been to a restaurant in over 20 years, and to be able to have a gourmet Thanksgiving meal, in this amazing building, with this beautiful view is more than I could have ever imagined or dreamed for. I am so grateful for this' and I was hooked because these are the people that this means so much to."

No one in our community should be hungry, and especially on Thanksgiving.

For more information go to www.theschooner.net, or see their Facebook Page.

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