Sioux Falls, SD
A Sioux Falls restaurant hopes customers will have worked up a hearty post-Thanksgiving appetite so others less-fortunate have food to eat during the holidays.
Sanaa's Gourmet Mediterranean Restaurant will serve a benefit dinner for Feeding South Dakota this weekend.
A tray full of baklava is an appetizing preview of some of the tasty pastries and other Mediterranean delights that will be dished up this weekend at Sanaa's.
"It's my way of paying it forward. When I came here, people welcomed me into the city, I feel like I was almost born in the city so everybody was very generous and kind so that's my way of paying it forward," Sanaa Abourezk said.
On Saturday night, diners can enjoy a meal for only a $10 donation and two cans of food, with all proceeds going to Feeding South Dakota's food pantry in Sioux Falls.
"I think it's really great. I think Feeding South Dakota is a really good organization that does a lot of really great things for the state and Sanaa's has really great food, it's pretty healthy, so yeah, I think it's a good opportunity for her," customer Erin Healy said.
Sannaa's has moved up this year's meal by a month. The cold weather last January kept some customers away. Sanaa's expects a bigger crowd this weekend.
"And now people are generous, it's the giving season so I hope everybody donates more than $10," Abourezk said.
The meal is truly a community-wide effort; Volunteers help clean the tables - even the customers ask what they can do to help out.
"It's a wonderful feeling. I go home exhausted, but yet, I feel I lost five years, became younger, because all the love you feel around, people hugging you, it's just a wonderful, wonderful feeling," Abourezk said.
Sanaa's has collected more than $22,000 and nearly a ton-and-a-half of food since serving the first benefit dinner back in 2009. This dining tradition puts food and philanthropy on the front burner for the holidays.
The benefit dinner is from 5-8 p.m. on Saturday at Sanaa's located at the 8th & Railroad Center. No reservations required. Carry-outs will also be available.
Sanaa's has already received about $800 in donations from people who won't be able to attend the dinner.
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