2006-05-20 / Top News

Free Employee Dinner Moves to Thursdays

By Leslie Rott

Mackinac Island summer workers are invited on Thursday evenings to enjoy a free dinner at Ste. Anne's Church this summer.

"The goal is to give people a place to go without going to the bars for one night," said Tim Leeper, who organized the dinners last summer.

The Thursday dinners are open to everyone and are held in the basement of the church at 6 p.m. They began two weeks ago, with Horn's Gaslight Bar providing food the first week and Yankee Rebel Tavern providing food the second week. Like past years, restaurants will be taking turns providing the food and will be lending their kitchen staff to help with the dinners. Meals are served until the food is gone.

"It is a good way to give back to the community," said Patti Ann Moskwa, who is organizing the dinners this year. She, along with the Church Council made the decision to start the dinners earlier in the summer this year to help ease new workers into Island life. She said that many workers come with only enough money to get to the Island.

"It's the beginning of the season that's really hard," she added. "Everyone is pitching in to help everyone feel welcome."

The church basement is equipped with air hockey, foosball, pool, and ping pong tables, along with a big screen television and a stereo. It provides workers with a place to socialize and get a home-cooked meal at the same time, Mrs. Moskwa said.

Mrs. Moskwa hopes that the dinners will run through July, when workers are settled and the season picks up for restaurants.

The dinners used to be held on Fridays and were a tradition started by Father Jim Williams more than 15 years ago, providing home-cooked meals to hundreds of employees.

The decision to move the dinners from Friday to Thursday was made because many employees were unable to attend Friday night owing to their work schedules, and many of the restaurants that would have donated meals were often too busy on Fridays to do so, said Mr. Leeper.

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