McKenna Roch, an employee at Moe’s On Ten, serves a Thanksgiving dinner during the restaurant’s annual free meal Wednesday, Nov. 24, in Novi.

McKenna Roch, an employee at Moe’s On Ten, serves a Thanksgiving dinner during the restaurant’s annual free meal Wednesday, Nov. 24, in Novi.

Photos by Brian Wells


Novi restaurant continues 30-year tradition of free Thanksgiving meals

By: Brian Wells | Novi Note | Published December 7, 2021

 For over 30 years, Moe's On Ten in Novi has offered free Thanksgiving meals to the community.

For over 30 years, Moe's On Ten in Novi has offered free Thanksgiving meals to the community.

 Moe’s On Ten employees Anthony Leon, left, and Jose Orozco prepare meals Wednesday, Nov. 24, during the restaurant's annual free Thanksgiving dinner.

Moe’s On Ten employees Anthony Leon, left, and Jose Orozco prepare meals Wednesday, Nov. 24, during the restaurant's annual free Thanksgiving dinner.

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For about 30 years, Moe Leon has found a way to use his business to give back to his community.

Each year, his restaurant, Moe’s On Ten in Novi, works with the city of Novi and the Novi Police Department to serve free Thanksgiving meals.

“It’s a way to say thank you to the community who made it possible for us to be here,” Leon said. 

The menu consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, vegetables, gravy, pumpkin pie and chicken noodle soup. For the most part, it hasn’t changed over the years, Leon said.

Despite not being able to do the event last year due to COVID-19, Leon said this year had his largest turnout. About halfway through the event, he anticipated serving between 800 and 1,000 meals.

“I feel great because that’s the people who made me come back, me and my business,” Leon said. “As a business owner, I look forward to this day all year long. To see the people, to see the regular customers … that’s the greatest feeling that I can have.”

If it weren’t for COVID-19 affecting their Thanksgiving plans, Dick and Lynne Deline wouldn’t have come for the meal. While they’ve lived in Novi for over 40 years and frequent the restaurant for breakfast, they had never attended the annual Thanksgiving dinner.

“I don’t like to cook,” Lynne Deline said, laughing. “I didn’t have to cook this year, but Thanksgiving got canceled, so I figured we’ll have Thanksgiving here.”

George and Wendy Sadler, of South Lyon, braved the traffic on Interstate 96 to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal before seeing family the next day.

“We feel like we’re fortunate, and we actually feel kind of bad, like we’re impeding on someone else’s Thanksgiving meal,” George Sadler said. “But it’s awesome.”

“I think it’s awesome that they do this,” Wendy Sadler said.

The dinners are a partnership between the restaurant, the city and the Police Department. Donations raised go to the department’s Kindness Is Contagious campaign. During the campaign, instead of handing out tickets for minor infractions such as a broken headlight, the Police Department will be handing out gift cards.

“(The program is) a great way to build public trust,” said Sheryl Walsh-Molloy, the city’s director of communications. “It’s a great way to touch a lot of people.”

Contact Brian Wells at (586) 498-1081, (248) 291-7637 or bwells@candgnews.com.

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