CHARLOTTE, NC (Mark Price/The Charlotte Observer) - One of Charlotte's most unusual holiday traditions returns on Thanksgiving Day, when the Skyland Restaurant intends to offer a free take-out Thanksgiving dinner not just to the poor, but to travelers and people stranded in the community.
This is the 11th year the restaurant has offered the free meal, which was created as a way for restaurant owner and immigrant Jimmy Kakavitsas to thank the people of his adopted home. He came here from Greece in 1967 and says the Charlotte community helped his restaurant become a success.
That's why his free meals aren't just for the poor or homeless, as is the case with most holiday charity efforts. It's for anyone who finds themselves alone and isolated from loved ones for the day. In years past, the restaurant has given away as many as 3,000 meals to people who lined up at the door on Thanksgiving. The dinners include a turkey and all the trimmings, plus tea.
"In 2016, by the grace of God...we have prepared to do the very same thing," said a statement from Kakavitsas. "We plan to feed another 3,000 people from all walks of life."