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Two days before Thanksgiving, on Tuesday, Nov. 26, the community was treated to a free meal hosted by Coffee Pot Restaurant. The event was the eighth annual free dinner hosted by the restaurant, which reporter Andrew Pardiac previewed in our edition on Nov. 20 and which reporter Corwin Gibson reported on for today’s newspaper.

Sedona Fire District Governing Board member Nazih Hazime, left, Fire Chief Kris Kazian and Coffee Pot Restaurant owner Emile Daher serve Kealii Stevenson and Christina Morgan, front, and Reese Adcock, Alanah Bird and Holly Shantara, back from left, Tuesday, Nov. 26, at Coffee Pot Restaurant during the free turkey dinner held in the spirit of Thanksgiving. SFD volunteered alongside Coffee Pot’s employees and their children at the dinner, which the restaurant hosts every year.I’ve lived in Sedona for almost 10 years, but had yet to make it out to the meal due to conflicts in my work or personal schedule, but this year, I resolved to attend.

Managing Editor Christopher Fox GrahamI called up by best friend and invited her and her boyfriend along as well. When I told her the dinner was free, she asked “Free? What’s the catch?” a question one would expect in our capitalist republic.

There was no catch, I told her. Owners Emile and Patricia Daher, their family, the restaurant’s staff and even the employees’ children give back to a community that supports them during the rest of the year. Sedona Fire District Fire Chief Kris Kazian and SFD Governing Board member Nazih Hazime were also serving, and brought plastic firefighter helmets for the young servers.

Although free, donations were accepted and went to the Sedona Community Food Bank, which reportedly received $3,100 from this year’s event.

The busy restaurant was filled with people from all walks of life, ages, economic backgrounds and from Sedona’s various social cliques, which all too often remain separate.

A big plate of turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, cornbread, cranberries and green beans arrived in less than a minute — as a newspaper editor and slam poet, I enjoy the efficiency and immediacy of getting right to the point. As we dug in, we discussed local news, local politics and a little bit of gossip with the strangers, friends, coworkers and colleagues we sat next to or ran into over the course of the meal.

Events like these and at the Sedona Elk’s Lodge on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 28, go a long way to remind us that our community is a lot smaller and closer knit than we often think, and we thank those who host, sponsor, serve and attend these dinners.

We all enjoy a hearty meal, good conversation and feeling part of a group doing good works for our community. The goal is to keep that feeling not only through the holidays but all year long and until next Thanksgiving.

Christopher Fox Graham

Managing Editor

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