Free Thanksgiving meals offered to area’s needy

Chronis' among several locations opening its doors

By Scott Hewitt, Columbian Arts & Features Reporter



There’s no stopping Chuck Chronis.

The Vancouver restaurateur has had his share of health troubles — he said it’s “tough to walk” and that he’s facing yet another foot surgery after the first of the year — but that’s not going to slow down his annual tradition of serving up a free Thanksgiving meal to everyone who walks in his downtown door, he vowed.

“We love it, it’s so important, it’s a big part of our life,” he said. “I can’t think of anything more satisfying than seeing so many of these people, with their children, and they’re actually happy for the day. The economy is a total mess, so it’s more important than ever before.”

Clark County Superior Court Judge Rich Melnick, Chronis’ friend and co-conspirator in the annual endeavor, said their shared belief is that doing good for others is equally good for the doer.

“Chuck and I have had long talks, and we firmly believe that the spirit of giving helps heal many troubles and ills for both the givers and the receivers,” he wrote in an email. “There is still a need for these dinners, and we aren’t about to end the tradition this year. Upon reflection, it is a bit difficult to believe we have done these for approximately 30 years.”

So, Chronis’ leads The Columbian’s annual listing of free Thanksgiving meals. If you know of a meal that hasn’t made the list, please get the information to us — at — no later than today. We’ll update the list in time for Thanksgiving Day.

• Chronis’ Restaurant and Lounge will offer its traditional holiday dinner from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday at 819 Main St. Full turkey dinner with vegetables, mashed potatoes, dessert, milk, coffee and tea are on tap. All are welcome.

• Da Kine’s Cafe hosts its fourth annual home-cooked Thanksgiving meal, served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Christ Community Church, 11900 N.E. 95th St., Suite 440 (in the East Ridge Business Park). Please call 360-798-7622 to make a reservation.

• The Vancouver Eagles welcome everyone to their free Thanksgiving breakfast, 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Eagles Lodge, 107 E. Seventh Street, downtown Vancouver. Call 360-693-8119 to volunteer or to get more information.

• St. James Catholic Church will serve Thanksgiving dinner to the needy from noon to 2 p.m. at 218 W. 12th Street. Volunteers are welcome; please call 360-356-4116 to sign up.

East county deliveries

Last year, the Knights of Columbus delivered 450 Thanksgiving dinners to seniors, shut-ins and others in need in the Camas-Washougal area. This year, the Knights are getting ready to do the same.

If you are in need of a meal delivered to your home — or if you are interested in donating food, volunteering to cook or making deliveries — call the Interfaith Treasure House at 360-834-4181, Al Schmid at 360-835-5346, or the East County Family Resource Center at 360-835-7802 to sign up. Recipients will be asked for the number of people in the household as well as address and phone number.

Cooking begins Wednesday morning at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, 324 N.E. Oak Street in Camas.

Drivers are welcome to show up at 11:30 a.m. Thanksgiving morning to start making deliveries.