LAKE WORTH BEACH, Fla — For nearly four decades, Farmer Girl Restaurant in Lake Worth Beach has been hosting a Thanksgiving feast for people who might not otherwise have a warm meal or place to celebrate the holiday.
Last year, owner Petro Bikos, along with his staff and volunteers, served 1,000 meals to those in need in the community.
“I just see a big need right now,” Bikos said. “Last year we had customers come from all over - as far south as Miami - who said if it wasn’t for us, they wouldn’t have had a place to go or food to eat.”
Opening the doors to the diner on Thanksgiving is a family tradition Bikos is carrying on after taking over the restaurant from his uncle in 2020.
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“My uncle stopped doing it because he was getting older and with the amount of time and work it took to put on, it was just too much for him,” Bikos explained. “But one of the things I wanted to do was give back to the community and continue what he started all those years ago.”
This year, Bikos and his staff are hoping to dish out 1,200 free meals, including all the Thanksgiving favorites like turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing and pumpkin pie.
“We’re there at five in the morning on the day of just to finish what we didn’t get done in the two weeks leading up to the holiday and we don’t open the doors until 11, but by 9 o’clock there’s already a line wrapped around the building.”
It’s a kindness Bikos offers not only to those experiencing homelessness, but to anyone who wants to enjoy a home-cooked meal with old and new friends.
For people who can’t leave their homes or don’t have access to transportation but live within a 3-mile radius of the restaurant, volunteers will deliver meals to their doorstep.
“The most rewarding part is everything that comes together to make this happen, especially when you see how many people are actually in need and how many people we’re able to help.”
Bikos, who also owns ‘The Hideout Kitchen and Cafe’ in West Palm Beach and Riviera Beach says as long as he has the resources, he will continue helping those in need.
“The community takes care of us throughout the whole year so this is kind of our way of saying thank you for being there for us.”