Thanksgiving is about being with family and friends and sharing a meal. For a certain Illinois restaurant, it is also a time to give back to the community.
Since 2003, Culver’s of Lake Zurich, IL has hosted a free Thanksgiving Day dinner, providing those in need with a warm meal. Partnering with several local churches, the event began with 50 meals served in 2003. Last year, in 2016, the event served over 400 meals.
“We saw a need,” said restaurant owner Steve Anichini. “I thought ‘What better of a way to bring people together than on Thanksgiving Day?’”
The annual dinner has fed countless individuals and families. Whether someone is looking for a meal or to be surrounded by others, Steve believes his job is simple: To provide a welcoming place for people on Thanksgiving Day.
“If we feed one person that day, then we’ve done our job,” said Anichini.
The dinner also continues to give back after Thanksgiving. Food that isn’t served on that day is donated to a local church pantry.
“If we feed one person that day, then we’ve done our job” – Steve Anichini
One year, Steve recalled, a young man was able to have Thanksgiving dinner with his family at the restaurant before serving in Iraq. When the man returned from Iraq, he was able to have another meal with family before both of his parents passed away. Steve said that the same man returns every year to remember his parents.