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Buchanan’s Hilltop Café serves free Thanksgiving dinner

BUCHANAN, Mich. -- Hilltop Café and Buchanan’s Senior Center partnered up this year to serve more than 200 people a free Thanksgiving dinner.

“It’s just great they’re taking their time to help other people out,” said Diane Mullen, who got a free meal on Thursday.

 Anyone in need was welcome to stop by the Hilltop Café on Thanksgiving Day to be filled.

“Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, dinner rolls and cranberries,” said waitress Shirley Davis, as she told guests what was on the menu.

It was the 12th annual free Thanksgiving meal to be served in Buchanan, but the first to be served by Hilltop’s staff and the senior center together.

Hilltop Manager Dion Bouzas put together and funded Thursday’s dinner.

He said an article about another restaurant serving free Thanksgiving dinner inspired him a couple of years ago.

“Once I read that article, it really touched my heartstrings,” Bouzas said. “And I like was, I have the same capabilities of that restaurant. I can do the exact same thing.”

Desserts were donated by members of the community.

And Hilltop’s staff didn’t stop moving throughout their holiday shift.

Davis, who has worked at the café for 15 years, said being able to help those in need makes it worth it.

“A year ago, a customer – she came by herself; she sat by herself,” Davis said. “And her husband was home; he was really, really sick. She really wanted to know if she could take a turkey dinner home for him. I asked the owners, they said no problem. She cried.”

But only smiles were present this Thanksgiving Day.

Sherrie Rose feasted with her friends from a nearby retirement community.

She was enjoying the company, but wasn’t overlooking the fact that Hilltop’s kindness made it possible.

“That’s what Thanksgiving’s all about,” Rose said. “And God will bless them for doing this.”

In collaboration with the Buchanan Senior Center, the staff at Hilltop also prepared at least 30 Thanksgiving dinners that were delivered to older people who couldn’t leave their homes.

Bouzas said this year’s dinner was the biggest one yet thanks to Hilltop combining efforts with the senior center, which is just up the road.

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