The Merrimack has donated 50 pies and 40 dozen rolls to Concord’s community Thanksgiving dinner at the Windmill Family Restaurant. The Windmill, who has partnered with the Friendly Kitchen to host their community Thanksgiving dinner since 1990, is serving free holiday meals on Thursday, November 28th.
The annual tradition began when restaurant owner, Louis Smirnioudis reached out to the Friendly Kitchen 29 years ago about offering Thanksgiving dinner to Concord, NH’s homeless population as well as to anyone who did not have a place to go for the holiday. His son, Kosmas, has proudly taken over the reins for the past six years. It’s a universally praised effort that locals learn of by word of mouth, and community members show appreciation by helping in any they can.
The Friendly Kitchen has happily promoted the event to their guests over recent weeks. They’ve also donated turkeys to the restaurant and solicited volunteer groups to donate pies among other needed items. They’ve also encouraged volunteers to sign up and help the restaurant prepare and serve meals on Thanksgiving Day. The Merrimack, who has three active volunteer teams, and serves for the organization year-round, was eager to pitch in.
“We’re thrilled to contribute in any way we can to this exceptional community effort,” said Linda Lorden, President of the Merrimack. “The Windmill and the Friendly Kitchen go out of their way to make sure no one in our community is left out or hungry on Thanksgiving day. I could not be prouder of our employees who’ve set aside time to organize, bake, purchase and care for those around them.”
Community volunteers range from Friendly Kitchen team members to students from Bishop Brady and Broken Ground School. “When you have 300 pounds of potatoes to peel, you need all the helping hands you can get,” expressed Smirnioudis. “The fact that so many members of the community help out is what makes this event such a perfect representation of what Thanksgiving is all about.” It also ties in what inspired the elder Smirnioudis, who passed away six years ago, to host the first event.
“My dad started this because when he first came to this country (from Greece), he was so grateful to those who opened their homes and let him stay, and get started in life.”
Meals will be offered at Windmill Family Restaurant on Thanksgiving day between 11:30 AM and 2:30 PM. Offerings will include turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, potatoes, vegetables, squash, rolls and pie. All are welcome and donations are accepted, though not required