Free Thanksgiving meal continues in Cloquet

Volunteers prep for sit-down dinners and deliveries


November 17, 2023

Thanksgiving is around the corner, and so is the massive free community dinner with turkey and all the fixings.

Never content with the status quo, this year the Carlton County Disabled American Veterans and partner Zion Lutheran Church are gearing up for not one, but four dining options for Carlton County residents on Thursday, Nov. 23.

Sit-down and takeout meals will be available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thanksgiving Day at Zion Lutheran Church at 1000 Washington Ave. in Cloquet. DAV member and lead organizer Raffy Johnson said to expect “Michelin Star service” at the church.

Delivery is a third option. Contact “concierge” Diane Dahl at 218-451-0966 with orders as soon as possible.

The Cloquet VFW is headquarters for cooking and delivery on Thanksgiving. From there, Dahl and others will direct a small army of volunteers to every corner of Carlton County, bringing free meals to those who can’t make it to Zion. They’re still recruiting volunteers to deliver to rural areas, starting around 10:30 a.m.

“Cloquet is pretty quick and easy for deliveries, but we still have to get to the rest of the county,” Johnson said Tuesday, estimating they will deliver about 500 meals, with hundreds more served at Zion.

Other volunteer needs include servers and kitchen staff at the church. Call Johnson at 218-590-4027 to volunteer in any capacity, and leave on Thanksgiving with the satisfaction of a job well done … and one of the DAV’s new volunteer T-shirts.

“The kids would say they have drip,” Johnson said.

The fourth and final dining option on Thanksgiving is something new for the DAV. Once the meals are all delivered, they will tidy up and offer a buffet-style meal at the VFW later in the day. The bar will be open.

“The DAV would like to thank all our supporters, and we are honored to provide this free meal,” a DAV news release noted. “Have a great Thanksgiving.”

Donations are welcome at the church or by mail to the DAV at P.O. Box 294, Cloquet MN 55720.


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