As the holidays approached this year, Helen Serafine, owner of Angry Rooster Deli in Caledonia, felt it would be “embarrassing to sit down and eat a giant turkey on Thanksgiving when some people won’t even get a bite.” Everyone who knows Serafine knows it is second nature of her to think of others. True to form, Helen Serafine had a generous solution.
Serafine decided to host a charitable event to provide individuals and families with a dinner on Thanksgiving. On her restaurant’s Facebook page, she posted that the Deli would be “preparing a Thanksgiving dinner for those who might need a little help.” Signing up for this dinner simply required people to give their first name, number of diners, and time of pick up. Discretion was a priority, as it can be embarrassing for some to ask for help. To make this event even more accessible, Serafine offered delivery as well.
After seeing the post on the Deli’s page, the community wanted to help. People from around the area stepped up and donated their time, money, and items including potatoes, gravy, cranberries, vegetables, squash, and over 15 turkeys. Serafine reflected, “Without the help from the community, this wouldn’t have been possible.” The Deli was able to serve over 100 people in Caledonia and the surrounding area.
Serafine is proud to be a part of a community that steps up when people are in need. This was the second Thanksgiving dinner prepared by the Deli and its community. Serafine hopes that this charitable event continues growing each year.
For now, the giving hasn’t ended here. Serafine and her fellow deli workers, along with others in the community, have placed a “coat tree” outside her restaurant on State Street. At night, people who need to stay warm come and take a coat from the tree. Serafine says she often gets to work in the morning to find the coat tree completely empty. It gets filled again as soon as possible to continue providing warmth to those who need it. Talk about spreading warmth to others!
Along with the coat tree, a “gift tree” has been set up in the Deli. Tags with a description of people (often children) who might not have the opportunity to have the Christmas everyone deserves are hung on the tree like ornaments. According to Serafine, people have been snatching tags off that tree like no one would believe, and the tree is now empty. All these tags represent individuals who will now receive a gift from Santa this Christmas.
Filling bellies, spreading warmth, and creating smiles this holiday season is what this community is all about. Helen Serafine strongly believes that without the help of the community, none of these charitable events could have been achieved. She continues to spread joy through her efforts to help those around her and hopes it keeps growing each year.