Good eats, good for the community

by Tim Hauserman

Every Wednesday evening throughout the winter Sunnyside is buzzing with the sound of people talking and tacos crunching. Ok, you can’t really hear the tacos crunching, but there are a hell of a lot of them being eaten. All because of the half price taco deal, which attracts a crowd of hungry locals and skiers who come for the tacos, but also because it is the place and time to meet up with friends. Equally important, it’s an opportunity to support a variety of local organizations who contribute in many ways to our community.

A few years ago, Jeff Ox, Sunnyside’s man in charge, developed the idea of using the Wednesday night crowds as an opportunity to help local non-profit organizations with raffle prizes. Since that time, dozens of organizations have created Wednesday silent raffles, sold tickets to all those happy taco eaters, and garnered over $28,000 of much needed funds for  community organizations. Those benefitting have included Project MANA, North Tahoe High School Project Grad, High Fives Foundation, Shane McConkey Foundation, SOS Outreach, Tahoe Backcountry Alliance, Truckee Bike Park, Sierra Watershed Education Partnership, Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue, Sierra State Parks Foundation, the Sierra Club and the Tahoe Cross Country Ski Education Association.

These are all small non-profits working on local issues. They are organizations for which $1000 can make a big difference. I know since my winter day job is running the Strider Glider program for the Tahoe Cross Country Ski Education Association at Tahoe XC. This program provides low cost cross country skiing to over 150 local kids from preschool to 5th grade. Kids get to ski for 8 weeks with an instructor and get use of the gear for the entire season for less then the cost of a downhill ski ticket. We’ve had several taco fundraisers over the years that not only were a beacon during some less then stellar winters, but also an opportunity for our supporters to gather together and socialize while supporting the cause.

The scoop: Chicken, carne asada and the famous fish tacos arejust $4 a piece on Wednesday nights. A few holiday periods are excluded (Christmas and New Years). Sunnyside also serves carne aside nachos and drink specials. All of the raffle ticket sales go to the organization who is running the raffle on a particular Wednesday. Prizes are donated by lots of generous local businesses and usually include ski passes, clothing, camping gear, and gift certificates.