Lil’ Guss’ gives out free hot meals for Thanksgiving

Lil Gus' serves Thanksgiving dinner and encourages the community to keep giving back.
Published: Nov. 24, 2022 at 9:49 PM EST
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GROTTOES, Va. (WHSV) - Thanksgiving is a holiday usually spent surrounded by family and a big meal, but not everyone has the same experience.

While many restaurants close their doors for the Thanksgiving holiday, Lil’ Guss’ in Grottoes opened its doors Thursday to help feed the community.

“Every year we try to give something back. During COVID, we fed the kids and the elderly ... keep on doing, keep on giving back because that’s the only way you’re gonna go forward,” Thomas Marchese, co-owner of Lil’ Guss’ said.

Instead of taking people’s orders, Lil’ Guss’ handed out free hot meals to anyone who walked through its doors.

“We planned for a lot more this year,” Marchese said. “We planned for about 180. We’re about 60 in. We just started though. We started at 1 o’clock. It was supposed to be 2 o’clock, so we’re feeding them. It doesn’t matter.”

This is the restaurant’s third year giving out Thanksgiving Day meals.

“I hope somebody can actually take a little bit of relief saying hey listen I don’t have to go out and spend all of this money to buy a Thanksgiving dinner for my family. I can have it here, and I can save a little bit of money and use it for the gas tank,” Marchese said.

The meal consisted of included turkey, green beans, mashed potatoes and stuffing.

Marchese said it’s all about giving back to the community that has made Lil’ Guss’ a staple in the Shenandoah Valley.

“Everybody’s stressed about money. Everybody’s stressed about how am I gonna make it to the next paycheck. We know we do the same thing. We work seven days a week, so we understand it,” Marchese said.

Just after 4 p.m. Lil’ Guss’ Facebook page announced they were out of food and served 190 people.