Thanksgiving is usually celebrated with a big meal, the classic turkey with all the trimmings, and family gathered all around. But what about those in Las Vegas without family or who find themselves alone at Thanksgiving?
G. Eric and Kimberly Miles have a history of inviting those who would otherwise be alone into their home for dinner. They reside at one of the premier golf course communities in Summerlin, TPC.
The Mileses first opened their home to others in 1998 because they had no family in Las Vegas. They hosted five individuals that time and served turkey with all the traditional trimmings.
They’ve repeated the effort several times since, usually finding solo diners through organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Nevada and ones that cater to women and children. They said they have a better name for the holiday.
“We like to call it ‘Giving Thanks Week,’ ” Kimberly said.
They also give back. Over the past decade, the couple have supported HELP of Southern Nevada’s Shannon West Homeless Youth Center and Olive Crest, which supplies a variety of support for children and families throughout Clark County, donating more than $100,000 as well as hands-on assistance. No surprise, then, that the couple have been nominated for AARP’s 2015 Nevada Andrus Award for Community Service.
“We don’t do these things for awards,” G. Eric said. “I just want to leave the planet a better place than I found it.”
Bringing in solo diners for Thanksgiving is one example of that mindset. Their largest dinner with solo diners was last year when they hosted 16 people. The dining table at their large home could easily accommodate that many, but the Mileses had a more laid-back gathering in mind.
“When we don’t have sit-down dinner, we do it tapas style … self-serve, buffet-style,” Kimberly said.
They had dozens of options last year but no turkey, as the couple had gone vegan by that point. And they don’t just extend the welcome at Thanksgiving — they’ve been known to invite solo participants for other holidays.
Why do they do it?
“I remember when I was new to Las Vegas in 1995, and when I was a child and had no place to go,” Kimberly said, recalling how she was homeless at one point. “… Because of our abundance, we will serve those who want to be part of a loving circle.”
She said it brings them joy to host others at their home.
This Thanksgiving, their solo Thanksgiving diner will be a 16-year-old exchange student from Ludenberg, Germany, Zoe, whom they are hosting. They plan to keep this Thanksgiving dinner small with a homier feel so it’s more of a family-type of experience for her.
What do they hope she gleans from such an American tradition?
“That it doesn’t have to be blood relatives or family members,” Kimberly said. “Just good, old-fashioned spending time together, breaking bread with other humans who appreciate life. Every day is a celebration.”
— To reach Summerlin Area View reporter Jan Hogan, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 702-387-2949.