The owners of the Kalma Restaurant kicked off their new monthly community dinner by roasting up 13 turkeys and welcoming in more than 250 guests.
The family-owned restaurant at 20555 56th Ave. hosted a free Christmas dinner on Saturday.
“We had over 250,” said Shannon Brogan. “We made sure that we cooked out enough for that much. It was amazing.”
Brogan said they want to do this to create a sense of community downtown.
“We want it to be different down there,” she explained. “I want to make a difference in the community that way.”
The restaurant has informally offered up a hot cup of coffee or a bowl of soup and even had hot dog cookouts this past summer for anyone in need of something in their stomachs, but wants to do more.
Brogan said there will be free monthly community meals on the first Saturday of the month. They are intended to provide sustenance and social time for the needy, the homeless, seniors, families, and anyone who wants to attend.
“We’ll always have music playing,” she added. “We’ll make sure to have entertainment in each room.”
Factoring in the food and gifts, the Christmas dinner cost about $4,000, not including a surprise gift from the staff.
The owners were approached by staff about the Christmas dinner and upcoming community dinners.
“All our staff said ‘Shannon, do not put us on the books. We volunteered for that’,” Brogan said. “Every event they will volunteer. They don’t want to be paid. We weren’t expecting that.”
Mugs runneth over
The restaurant will be open Christmas Day and is selling tickets for a full holiday meal. Now lots of extra people will be attending.
The restaurant has some festive mugs with treats in them for sale as a fun fundraiser for $5. In two days (including the community dinner day), they sold $540 worth.
Those funds are to provide Christmas dinners on Dec. 25 for people in need.
“That’s 30 to 35 people who can have Christmas dinner,” Brogan said.
The restaurant will use the cup fundraiser proceeds to find families that can use a Christmas dinner. Brogan said the project has little promotion but attracted big support.
“One lady left $100 for a cup,” she noted.
The family, in addition to having the restaurant and adjacent deli, has the thrift store in that complex. Started by her late father, Mike Brogan, the thrift store was to raise funds for battered women.
But it has always offered help to people who need a coat to stay warm, or gloves or a scarf.
Brogan said the store now has a rack of winterwear outside with a sign telling people to select something if they need warm clothing.