This Thanksgiving will mark the 14th year that Chef John Howie will host a full three-course, fine dining feast at Seastar Restaurant at no cost for underprivileged guests.
Every year, approximately 650 guests attend through Bellevue LifeSpring, Hopelink in Redmond and Bellevue, Olive Crest, Redmond YWCA, and The Sophia Way.
The meal is made possible by Chef Howie and local vendors who provide more than 500 pounds of turkey, 300 pounds of potatoes, 90 pounds of cranberry sauce and mountains of pies. Numerous volunteers (around 75 Seastar crew members, families and friends) participate as servers, cooks, and dishwashers before sitting down at the end of the day to share Thanksgiving meal together.
Chef Howie said the event was a way to give back for all his family’s good fortune.
“I was struggling with not feeling as thankful when Thanksgiving began, feeling like it was just another day of cooking so my wife and I decided to open the restaurant (Seastar) to low-income families and treat them to something special. After the first year, we knew we’d continue doing it forever.”
Some diners attend because they’re unable to prepare a meal or can’t afford to. Others are in need of fellowship. Foster families are often invited so they can enjoy a stress-free holiday.
Since 2002, the John Howie Restaurant Group has received numerous awards for philanthropy and community involvement, and has given more than $4.5 million to hundreds of charitable organizations.