By Nicole Matheson
This time of year, meals and family are almost synonymous with one another as friends and kin alike join together in thankful measure. While gathering in celebration for those close to us, the beauty of the season can be a stressful time for many, and even a hungry one.
Local businesses have held to a tradition in Lake Havasu City, feeding those in need who might otherwise not be able to afford a holiday meal, let alone day-to-day nutrition. The epidemic of world hunger may seem to be too large of an endeavor for anyone to tackle, but by taking care of Havasu’s own, people are stepping up to the plate to offer a helping hand.
RiverScene spoke with some local businesses that are among many in Lake Havasu City making a difference this holiday season.
Dustin Runyon, of Dustin Runyon Real Estate Team and the Only Orchids Charity Group, and Melissa Lucas, owner of BlondZee’s Steakhouse, each are organizing efforts to help those in need. They took time out of their busy schedules to highlight some wonderful opportunities taking place this Thanksgiving.
Tradition of Helping
One of the collaborative movements is organized by Runyon, ChaBones and the Only Orchids Facebook group and they are offering free meals on Thanksgiving Day. No questions asked!
“It started five years ago when myself and Greg Whitmire started buying gift cards for people during Thanksgiving. It started with us feeding five families, then 50, and last year we fed 1,100 people. This year we have a goal of 1500,” Runyon said.
Runyon has been delighted with the results, “We have had amazing feedback. We don’t ask any questions, if you want a meal it is yours to have. We will give you one or 10 meals. The community has been very supportive and it has been amazing to see the growth of it all. I think the holidays are an amazing time for so many people and very stressful for others. We want to help take the stress away from those who need help during these times. Giving is the key to living.”
To support this effort, Runyon says, “Please drop off turkeys at ChaBones ASAP!”
For those wanting a meal from Only Orchids on Thanksgiving Day, visit ChaBones at 112 London Bridge Road, 10am-1pm. No questions asked.
From Oregon To Arizona
Melissa Lucas of BlondZee’s in Lake Havasu City is also carrying forth a tradition of feeding others on Thanksgiving that she brings with her from years in Oregon.
“The original tradition started at my Oregon restaurant when I was a child. Back in the 1980s, it wasn’t completely unusual for restaurants to do this.” The idea came full circle when Lucas began to work in the restaurant industry as an adult, and she said, “In 2006, I got a job as a waitress in Salem, Ore., at Schroeder’s Guest House. Every Thanksgiving I volunteered my time to the event.”
Lucas empathizes with the cause, she and others have taken it upon themselves to bring a little comfort to others. “I don’t know the original owner’s reason, other than people did it,” speaking of feeding others during the holidays, “… but pushing it, is because I have been there.”
Lucas said, “Lake Havasu City has a very spread-out community that I know I can help. Whether they are too weak (all that cooking is serious work) or alone, or poor, whatever, it’s for anyone in need. The bulk of the work is done by my employees the days prior. Almost all of them help in some way. I do accept donations to help offset the labor and food.”
If you need a Thanksgiving meal with BlondZee’s 11am-1pm, it is located at 4501 London Bridge Road. This meal is dine-in only.
Additional Resources In Town
These charity events are not the only ones of their kind. There are other businesses offering free meals this Thanksgiving, such as the R Bar and Grill, and the Havasu Community Health Foundation’s Food Bank has already given out almost 300 boxes filled with Thanksgiving food necessities.
The Food Bank thrives thanks to the giving community’s support, notes Colleen Mattinson. There is always a need as the Food Bank has about 1,100 members who depend on them.
The R Bar has invited residents in need to join them for Thanksgiving. Beginning at 12pm, until all of the food is gone, visit the R Bar located at 3185 Maricopa Ave. for a Thanksgiving meal.
Check out these events on Facebook for details if you are interested in attending, or know of anyone who could benefit from these offerings:
Free Thanksgiving Meals organized by The Dustin Runyon Real Estate Team, Only Orchids Charity Group and ChaBones: https://www.facebook.com/events/558365011564739/
Free Turkey Dinner organized by BlondZee’s Steak house: https://www.facebook.com/blondzeessteakhouse/photos/a.2164999337153369/2457310137922286/?type=3&theater
Free Thanksgiving Dinner organized by R Bar and Grill: https://www.facebook.com/events/461997591094267/
For information on services for the Havasu Community Health Foundation Food Bank, visit https://havasucommunityhealth.org/page/foodbankinformation
If an event wasn’t mentioned here, please leave a comment or contact RiverScene Magazine.
Please share this story with those that you feel may need a place to go for the holidays. RiverScenemagazine.com staff would like to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving!