Moondogs’ Thanksgiving fundraiser gives twice

Customers belly up to the buffet during last year’s Moondogs Thanksgiving fundraiser. - Courtesy photo
Customers belly up to the buffet during last year’s Moondogs Thanksgiving fundraiser.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Moondogs Too in downtown Port Orchard once had a rough reputation, but has recently evolved into a focal point for family fun for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The restaurant will offer $1 meals on both days, targeting people who are alone on the holidays or can’t afford to pull together a traditional meal on their own.

“The community is really pulling together to get this whole thing up and running,” said owner Darryl Baldwin. “It really makes you feel good to see this.”

The giving is on two fronts: To the guests, who get a meal at a price that is close to free, and to South Kitsap Helpline food bank, which will get all of the proceeds. Moondogs employee Christina Theis, who is managing the event, said that $800 was raised last year, and she would like to see this year’s total reach $2,000.

As for attendees, Theis would like to double last year’s total and serve 300 people.

This doesn't add up, since collecting one dollar from each of 300 people falls well short of the goal. But Theis said that more affluent customers contribute what they would pay if they went out to a "regular" restaurant; perhaps $30 for a meal. A dollar, then, becomes the suggested amount for people who aren’t doing well financially.

There are limits. First, the obvious: While the bar is open during the meal, the food charges do not include alcohol. And the one dollar price is not for all-you-can-eat, but entitles guests to one trip through the buffet line.

Theis said that all of the restaurant’s employees are donating their time and tips. Fourteen 20-lb. turkeys are being donated by Minder Meats in Bremerton, and the Morningside Bakery across the street is donating bread and allowing Theis to use the bakery oven to cook 40 pies.

Theis said the event has grown in scope during its three years of existence, but took its biggest bump after the restaurant became “family friendly” and was allowed to let kids inside. Since then, Theis said it has evolved into a kids-based party.

“The kids really help out with serving food and cleaning up,” she said.

While Theis expects a good turnout, it depends on getting enough volunteers to drive guests between their homes and the restaurant.

“We need people to come forward and help the people who want to come get here,” she said. “Those who need this the most are elderly and shut-ins with no way to get around.”

To volunteer, or for more information call (360) 895-2300.

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