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Free Thanksgiving dinner returns to Cloquet

The free community Thanksgiving meal is returning to Zion Lutheran Church Thursday, and all Carlton County residents are invited to sit down and enjoy a nice turkey meal with all the fixings and in good company. Meals are also available for delivery countywide.

This marks the sixth year in a row that the Carlton County Disabled American Veterans and Auxiliary have organized and prepared the free Thanksgiving meals.

The DAV's Raffy Johnson spearheads the annual event with plenty of help. He stressed that the meal is for everyone, so people don't need to be shy about ordering delivery or coming to dinner.

"People tell me they don't want to take away a meal from someone in need, and I tell them that I don't want to throw food away," he said. "It doesn't matter what the reason is: convenience, company, sickness, financial. This is just a big thank-you from the DAV for helping us throughout the year with everything we do."

The sit-down meal runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 24 at Zion, 1000 Washington Ave. in Cloquet. Delivery is available from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

Although folks don't have to call ahead to dine in, they must call for delivery as soon as possible (by Tuesday, Nov. 22 at the latest) so DAV organizers can plan the many delivery routes across Carlton County in advance.

To order a meal for delivery, call the DAV at 218-269-2193. If no one answers, leave a message with name, phone number, address and how many meals for delivery.

Johnson said they're thrilled to be back at the church and have two kitchens again, giving a shout out to Vicki Anderson for her help. Deliveries will be based at the Cloquet VFW again, with meals being packed the second year in a row by the Cloquet Bantam hockey team.

"It's nice to have such strong, agile young men who are very coachable helping out," Johnson said with a smile.

The DAV is also looking for volunteers to help with delivery, dining service and cleanup, Johnson said, adding that volunteers receive a free T-shirt and food, along with the satisfaction of helping their neighbors. Call 218-269-2193 and leave a message about what kind of volunteering you want to do to get involved.

Sponsors of this year's event also include the Cloquet VFW and Carlton VFW clubs, the Cloquet Eagles Club, Community Printing, B&B Market, the Moose Lodge and Irving Community Club.


Community members from Duluth, Carlton, Cloquet, Superior and the North Shore are invited to gather at the DECC for a free Thanksgiving Day celebration from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 24 in the Lake Superior Ballroom. Parking is free. Due to the national turkey shortage, the College of St. Scholastica will serve a ham dinner with mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, vegetables, dinner roll and cake.