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Backwaters Bar and Grill offering free Thanksgiving meals, seeks donations

Backwaters Bar and Grill

Backwaters Bar and Grill north of Rhinelander on Highway 47 has had a long tradition of offering free meals around Thanksgiving to anyone who wants one.

That tradition kept up last year even with new owners in place.

David Holt says other than a small hiccup with the phones and getting people’s voicemails, last year was a success.

Holt’s wife Traia runs the restaurant, he helps out where he can.

“It went exactly the way that we were hoping it would, which is that a lot of people act as delivery drivers. They'll pick up five or more meals, and they're actually going and delivering them to people who maybe can't get out,” said Holt. “We were very happy with that it works the way it's intended to work, which is a free holiday meal that can be delivered.”

Backwaters cooks all the food. They put some of their own funds towards the meals, but also depend on donations that are collected ahead of time and day of.

Any money that’s not used gets set aside to buy more meals for next year.

If people want to pick up free meals for themselves or others, they need to call it in by this Sunday, the 19th so the restaurant has enough time to order all the food they need.

“That's what we really admire and love about this is being part of a community. The big thing about the free meal is that it's not needs based. We want anybody to feel welcome to participate and not feel like well, ‘I can afford to buy a meal, so I shouldn't do this.’ We don't ask for anything like that. It's just we will provide what we can provide as a as a holiday tradition,” said Holt.

People can request meals by calling Backwaters at (715) 369-5645 or messaging them on Facebook.

Donations can be dropped off or mailed to the restaurant.

This year’s dinner includes broasted chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, a dinner roll, and dessert.

People are given a time slot to pick meals up on Wednesday, November 22.

Last year, Backwaters gave out around 70 meals.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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