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Celebrating tradition: Family prepares for a busy day as CJ's diner serves up free Thanksgiving dinners

November 17, 2010 - The Slomczenskis say they have plenty to be thankful for as their tradition of providing community members with a free Thanksgiving dinner marks its 31st year.

The meal, served Nov. 25 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., is available to area seniors, shut-ins and others who want to share the holiday.

"It's open to the public," said Joan Slomczenski, the "J" in CJ's. "We don't want to put any stipulations on it. We've had seniors, people in need people who don't have a family; no one's ever taken advantage of it."

Those who are homebound can call to have a meal delivered.

Need transportation? Call N.O.T.A. Please provide 48 hour notice 248-628-7900. For shut-in service, please call CJ's for delivery 248-693-8704
The tradition began in 1979, long before the Slomczenskis took over and renamed the café CJ's 12 years ago. It's important to keep it going, they said.

"We get a lot of local volunteers come in to help out," said Joan, noting she and Carl, as well as their two daughters, will be part of the staff cooking and serving meals, as well as cleaning up afterward.

Local churches, community organizations, scout troops and others make donations and also send groups to lend a hand with the traditional Thanksgiving dinner of turkey and dressing, mashed potatoes, and the trimmings. And for dessert? What else—pumpkin pie with whipped cream.

Donations from diners are welcome, but not required.

"It's not expected at all," Joan said, noting any money leftover after the meals are paid for will be donated to the local Lions club for their food basket program.

CJs is located at 21 W. Flint Street in downtown Lake Orion. Reservations are not required, but those who'd like a home-delivered meal are asked to call ahead so volunteer drivers can be coordinated.

Lake Orion Review Editor
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