CJ’s Lakeside Grill gives back with annual Thanksgiving feast

CJ’s Lakeside Grill gives back with annual Thanksgiving feast

Volunteers needed to help with Thanksgiving dinner, donations

Lake Orion eatery CJ’s Lakeside Grill has had a longstanding tradition of giving back to the community during the Thanksgiving holiday.

For 40 years now, Lake Orion’s much-loved, hometown-style restaurant has hosted free Thanksgiving dinners on the holiday.

Those without loved ones to spend the day with, those struggling, those who can’t afford a Thanksgiving dinner or people who are just passing through — all are welcome at CJ’s for a warm Thanksgiving meal, said Carl Slomczenski, owner of CJ’s .

According to Slomczenski, on average, they feed between 400 and 500 people each year, free of charge.

Feeding such a large number of guests is no easy feat and requires all hands on deck.

CJ’s still needs help with drivers to deliver food to those who cannot attend, servers, cooks and general help.

The Lake Orion Sunrise Rotary Club, which has helped with the Thanksgiving feast in past years, has volunteered to help again this year.

“About six of us are going to pitch in to help in whatever capacity he needs,” said club President Barkley Pierce. “Any way we can give back and help CJ’s, we’re going to do it. It helps the community, it helps a local business; that’s what Rotary is all about.”

The Lake Orion Sunrise Rotary Club has meet regularly at CJ’s since the club’s inception and Pierce welcomes more community members to come out and support a local business giving back to those who may need a meal and companionship on a holiday.

“It’s just one of those undertakings that Carl does that have been a benefit to the community. It’s just a way of giving back and Carl’s done it for years and years,” Pierce said.

Volunteers can sign up at CJ’s, which is located at 21 W. Flint St. in downtown Lake Orion, or contact the restaurant directly at 248-693-8704.

The meal will be served from noon to 3 p.m. at that location on Nov. 28.

For more informationon CJ’s or the Lake Orion Sunrise Rotary Club, go to: cjslakesidegrill.com, facebook.com/LakeOrionRotary. — By Megan Kelley