Local foster kids get first taste of Thanksgiving

Annual meal hosted by Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse owner, former foster child, Lana Duke

100 foster children from Roy Maas’ Youth Alternative gathered inside Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse Sunday and were treated to a full-blown Thanksgiving Day feast. For some it was the first Thanksgiving meal they’ve ever had.

“It was awesome,” said 7-year-old Isabell.

For the last eight years, steakhouse owner Lana Duke has opened her doors to foster children to give them to chance to celebrate the holiday.

Cooks and waiters volunteered their time to serve their special guests turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes and pie.

“A lot of our children have very poor memories of their upbringing and things that have happened to them, and I think part of what we do is create new memories,” said Bart Kelly, interim CEO of Roy Maas’ Youth Alternatives. “We look forward to it every year because of the message that it does send to and for our children.”

The message is one of hope, and for Duke it’s personal.

“I was a foster child up until I was about 15,” Duke said. “It just reminds me of what amazing children they are and how much they deserve our love and kindness. They’re in control of making their life just as great and lucky as I have been.”

For a list of recent stories Cory Smith has done, click here.

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