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The Diner's Specially-Priced Thanksgiving Dinners Will Benefit Charities

by and on November 25, 2014 1:45 PM

If you're looking for a great Thanksgiving dinner and want to support a good cause in the process, look no further than The Diner, located at 126 W. College Ave. in State College.

On Thanksgiving Day, beginning at noon, the restaurant will begin serving a traditional holiday dinner complete with turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce and corn. The cost? A mere 50 cents. The event is open to the public and all proceeds will benefit local charities.

According to Dan Rallis, owner of The Diner, the event has been a State College tradition for more than 75 years.

"I've been at The Diner going on 30 years and it was a tradition way before I got there," Rallis explains. "It used to be just a 50-cent dinner, but we really put a charitable spin on it. We picked some local organizations. That's what we do now. At the end of the day, it's really not about serving dinners. It's about helping somebody."

Thanksgiving dinner at The Diner — then known as Ye Olde College Diner — began in 1938.

This year, the Bestwick Foundation will be the beneficiary of the dinner's proceeds. The funds raised will be divided between Tides, a program that helps grieving children, and the Brian Judy family.

Judy, of Centre Hall, was recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer. He is a United Methodist minister who serves as pastor of three churches in Martha Furnace, Julian and Gray's Woods.

"Brian can't work now. He's going through chemo and radiation, but he's still a very positive guy," says Steve Greer of the Bestwick Foundation. "We're going to raise some money for him. It's a 50-cent dinner, but all the donations and tips will help. We'll even have people out canning, so if you can't make it to the dinner, just drive by The Diner to donate."

Greer says that a recent benefit concert for Judy and his family raised nearly $20,000. The Thanksgiving dinner event typically raises between $5,000 and $6,000.

Greer is hopeful that the community will come out and support the event.

"It really is a community event," Greer says. "It's great opportunity for people to contribute and help a local family. The family really needs it. We really want to turn it up a notch."

As usual, Rallis is expecting a big crowd at The Diner.

"It's like anything you do, you get efficient," Rallis says. "I spend one day doing all the stuffing. I'll probably do the stuffing Tuesday (Nov. 25) of next week."

To put things in perspective, Rallis says The Diner will go through 250 to 300 pounds of stuffing alone. They'll go through even more potatoes.

"Probably 300 to 350 pounds of mashed potatoes," Rallis adds matter-of-factly.

Dessert is not included in the cost of the meal, but an assortment of pies will be available.

"We really want people to come and enjoy it," Rallis says.

The Diner will have its full menu available from 7 a.m. until noon. However, once the clock strikes 12, only the Thanksgiving meal will be available. It will be served until 6 p.m.

"It's all volunteers ... they put the plates together and serve it. They give their time," Rallis says. "We'll give our staff off, minus a couple of people who oversee it. Everyone does shifts. We always have more than we need. It's really neat."

In the end, Rallis, Greer and countless volunteers will come together, serve a great meal and help people during the process.

"Ultimately, our goal is to help these people," Rallis says. "It's one way we try to help others. It's great."


What: Thanksgiving Dinner

Where: The Diner, 126 W. College Ave., State College

When: Thursday, Nov. 27

Cost: Complete Thanksgiving dinner is just 50 cents

Why: To benefit Tides and Brian Judy Family

More info:

This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Chris Morelli is the managing editor of The Centre County Gazette.
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