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Hungry on Thanksgiving? La Cocina is offering free meals

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La Cocina

Jim Childs enters a donated truck that's being used to store food for La Cocina's free Thanksgiving dinner.

Jim Childs never had particularly enjoyable Thanksgivings growing up. He’d go with his mom to community dinners for single adults, he said, but it just never felt warm or comfortable.

That’s partly why his family restaurant, La Cocina, starting providing free meals to the Casper community every Thanksgiving. They’ve been a tradition there since 2001.

Anyone who’s hungry can stop by the restaurant, located at 321 East E Street, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Thursday for turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, cranberry sauce, rolls and pie.

La Cocina

Jim Childs points Tuesday to the turkey and gravy in a donated truck that's being used to store food for La Cocina's free Thanksgiving dinner. The meal is available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday.

Between 600 and 625 meals will be available. There will also be an arts-and-crafts activity available for kids.

People can take as much as they want — no questions asked. They are welcome to dine-in or take the meals to go.

The restaurant’s also doing free deliveries. While it hasn’t finalized the details on how the deliveries will work yet, in previous years, people have just been able to call La Cocina’s main number at 307-266-1414 to request a meal brought to them.

The family wants the event to be “not just a place to go, but a place for memories,” daughter Abby Childs said.

La Cocina

Jim Childs and his daughter Abby are working together to host a free Thanksgiving dinner to anyone who needs it at La Cocina from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday at the Casper restaurant. Abby runs the volunteer and donation side of the event while her dad handles the cooking.

The tradition temporarily went on hiatus from 2014 to 2020 to give the family a break, but she pushed for its return last year.

“I don’t volunteer as much as I’d like to,” she said. “This is kind of my way of volunteering.”

Thankfully, they’ve figured out ways to make the lift a little easier — the Ramkota Hotel is letting La Cocina use its ovens so they could cook all their turkeys at once, for instance.

Don’t sweat not having all the right tools - the kitchen is a great place to improvise. Yair Ben-Dor has more.

The restaurant also recruited some 40 volunteers to the event.

La Cocina is still accepting donations and volunteers to help support the effort.

Anyone interested in donating can reach out to Abby Childs at 307-251-6181, or visit the restaurant’s Facebook page.

Other local businesses and organizations are offering free meals, too:

  • Eggington’s: pick up beginning 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming, located at 1701 E. K Street.
  • Wyoming Rescue Mission: call 307-233-6925 for a meal kit while supplies last, or stop by 230 N. Park Street from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday for a community Thanksgiving meal.
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