Photo by Sherri Kolade
Dimitri’s staff member Debbie Elkins (left), restaurant owner Ali Moussa (center), and Suzanne Skalski are all smiles Nov. 15 inside the restaurant as they prepare for their annual Thanksgiving dinner Wednesday.
By SHERRI KOLADE
DEARBORN — Got a tip? Dimitri’s Family Dining is asking for it.
From 3 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, the restaurant, 2424 S. Telegraph Road, will host its sixth annual free Thanksgiving dinner, and residents who attend may donate their tip, which goes to the Dearborn Goodfellows.
The restaurant’s wait staff also plans to donate their tips to Goodfellows, a nonprofit charitable organization that provides assistance to Dearborn’s needy children.
Restaurant Owner Ali Moussa said the money will help Goodfellows meet the needs of Dearborn children.
“If they leave tips it is appreciated,” Moussa said. “If they don’t, it is appreciated too. All they have to do is come with an empty stomach. Some people come in and they leave $100 or a check for $150, that is pretty nice.”
Lawrence Johnson, president of the Dearborn Goodfellows, said the organization will use the tips and other donations to provide Christmas presents for children at Christmastime, part of their “No child without a Christmas” motto.
“You couldn’t ask for any better community involvement to help our kids,” Johnson said. “What they do is extremely appreciated.”
Johnson said Dearborn Goodfellows donates about 1,000 Christmas presents a year.
“The need has gone up considerably over the last several years and without businesses doing what they are doing it poses a serious challenge to us,” he said. “It is just a wonderful thing that Ali Moussa is doing.”
Moussa said the Thanksgiving dinner shows his thanks to the community.
“We want to thank our customers for their support through the years,” Moussa said. “Everyone has got to do their share and I am on a board with the Goodfellows, so I know how much help is needed in this area.”
Moussa said he usually prepares the meals a week early.
“It takes quite some time to cook food,” Moussa said of feeding 1,000-plus people. “It is a lot of fun, especially to see all of my regulars in and they bring people. Hopefully we can serve as many needy people as possible.”
Moussa said hosting a free Thanksgiving dinner is nothing out of the ordinary.
“I was born that way,” Moussa said. “When I came to the United States from Lebanon our family used to receive help from the Goodfellows, so I thought the least I can do is this.”
Moussa said that people should care about giving back because “that is humanity.”
“If we stop caring about each other humanity is done,” Moussa said, “then we become just like animals.”
Anyone interested in volunteering may contact the restaurant at 313-565-7066.