Cafe Pignoli getting ready to offer free Thanksgiving feast
Cafe Pignoli will serve a free Thanksgiving feast for all of those in need at the Pavillon at Cape Harbour Marina on Nov. 27, from noon-3 p.m.
The annual event of serving the community a free Thanksgiving dinner began in Massachusetts and was held from 1990 until 2001 when Robert and Barbara Cardoos moved to Cape Coral.
The owner and chef of Cafe Pignoli, Robert Cardoos, said they served about 1,200 in Massachusetts.
“It grew each year,” he said. “It was phenomenal.”
He explained that the Thanksgiving meal is not designed just for the homeless, it is given for people who are in need, for those who do not have their spouse or family with them for the holiday, along with those who are lonely. Nowadays, Cardoos said individuals are living on a limited income that does not allow them to feed their family a feast for Thanksgiving.
Chef Janet Rinehart created the menu that will be served to the community on Thanksgiving, which will be made from scratch using fresh ingredients. The menu will include traditional Thanksgiving items such as a sage roasted turkey, roasted ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, corn bread stuffing, cranberry sauce, fresh bread, hot apple cider and various pies.
“The menu is phenomenal,” Cardoos said.
She explained that she will prepare all of the food and her two sou chefs will do the preparation work for the meals.
“We are using fresh ingredients from our kitchen,” she said. “We are not cutting any corners … everything will be made like it was for my family or for the restaurant.”
The Cafe Pignoli staffers are expecting a great crowd for their first Thanksgiving meal, which will begin a new annual tradition in Cape Coral. An estimate of 200 to 300 individuals are expected to be served.
“I think we will have a very good turnout because of the economic climate,” Rinehart said. “No one wants to be home alone for the holidays.”
Cardoos said he is expecting between 100 to 150 volunteers this year.
“Many people come out and volunteer on the holiday,” he said. “People forget there is 365 days of the year … their voluterism should not be centered for that one day.”
Cardoos said he will have volunteers deliver meals to those who cannot make it to Cape Harbour on Thanksgiving. He explained the volunteers will not only deliver the meal, but they will also spend an hour visiting with the family, couple or individual.
“It’s more than just the food,” Cardoos said. “They need company especially on the holiday.”
Volunteers will also transport people who do not have rides back and forth from their home to the pavillon to ensure they have a Thanksgiving dinner.
An acoustic vocalist will provide entertainment for three hours for those who come to the Thanksgiving dinner.
The corporate sponsor for the Cafe Pignoli event is Iberia Bank, due to its financial donation.
For those who wish to volunteer their time or make a donation for the event, call Cafe Pignoli at (239) 541-0800 or email email@example.com.