The Mandile family, owners of Mandile's Restaraunt and Banquets, Algonquin, many of their staff and a dozen friends served Christmas dinner Friday to about 200 of the area's less fortunate.
"We were sitting around the table at Thanksgiving," said Papa Carmine Mandile. "We thought, 'We're so fortunate to have a place to be and plenty to eat.' Because of the economy there's a lot of people who don't. They've lost their house, their job."
"We appreciate what we have," said Mandile, "and we thought we ought to do something to show it." Free dinner at Christmas seemed to be the answer, he said.
"One lady called up and said, 'Are you going to serve pizza?'" said Mama Maria Mandile. "'No,' I told her. 'We're going to serve turkey and ham.'" Not to mention pasta, (an Italian restautant, you know) and potatoes, veggies...Christmas dinner. Oh, yeah, homemade cookies and cheesecake, for dessert.
"It brings tears to your eyes," said Maria Mandile. "People would call and say, 'Oh, thank you and God Bless you for doing this.'"
There was even a pile of presents "For the kids, you know. In case they need them," said Maria.
The Mandiles (Vincent, Nino, Michael and Angela are the "kids") said they hope Friday's Christmas dinner might become a family tradition, although they'd prefer in a way that it not. "It's the economy," said Carmine Mandile. "Even our business is 'off'."
In the pic: Chef John Calderaro, Carmine and Maria Mandile slice one of the turkeys and hams for Christmas Dinner Friday served to some of the area's less-fortunate at Mandile's Restaurant, Algonquin.