Holiday meal benefits Dearborn Goodfellows

Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN – During the holidays, one area restaurant is continuing its tradition of helping the less fortunate.

Ali Moussa, owner of Dimitri’s Fine Food, 2424 Telegraph, will host a free Thanksgiving dinner from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Nov. 23, with donations going to the Dearborn Goodfellows.

Moussa has hosted the dinner every year since 2007.

Moussa, who has owned the restaurant since 2000, said the idea for the dinner came to him after he emigrated to the United States from Lebanon in 1990, along with seven sisters and one brother. He said he knew of the Dearborn Goodfellows and their then-president, Steve Wiekopolan, and wanted to become involved in the community.

Moussa said about 950 people came through the doors last year and he hopes for an increase this year. He added attendance increases about 25 percent from year to year and estimates about 1,300 to 1,500 people.

Moussa said customers are happy to help those in need and eat good food at the same time.

“It comes both ways,” he said. “They have a good meal and help someone else.”

The dinners feature all the Thanksgiving trimmings: turkey, vegetables, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. The servers’ tips, along with donations from the customers, are donated to the Dearborn Goodfellows.

He said the dinner generated about $2,500 last year. He said the donors include a customer who gives $120 each year, the highest donation he receives.

He said the reception he gets from patrons humbles him.

“A lot of people say thank you,” he said. “I’m just trying to do my part. Thank you to all the customers who support us.”