Free Thanksgiving meals at St. Paul family restaurant continue in founder's honor

The holidays bring a lot of family traditions and that is certainly the case for the Casper family in St. Paul. The family owns Cherokee Tavern and the restaurant has been offering free Thanksgiving meals for more than 30 years. However, this year, someone very special is missing.

All 400 turkeys and 2,500 pounds of stuffing were cooked and prepped at Casper's Cherokee Tavern in St. Paul, just like every Thanksgiving since 1983 when Dorothy Casper decided to open the doors to those who didn't want to eat alone, who couldn't cook or to  those in a bit of financial need.

“She wanted to do a sit down, like table service, not a food line type of thing. She wanted to bring dignity today and a community,” Rick Casper said.

It's been a family mission every single year with Dorothy leading the charge, but for the first time ever, she wasn’t there. She passed away earlier this year, but her spirit is still strong. Meanwhile, the Casper kids carry that same drive to give back to the community that she did.

The Caspers are quick to point out the volunteers that beg to help every year on this holiday, adults and kids alike.