Single servicemembers can get turkey, trimmings
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Europe can be a tough place to celebrate Thanksgiving, especially if you are celebrating alone.
But there are a variety of options and events available for servicemembers who find themselves without a place to go for the holiday.
Single servicemembers can head to Chuck’s Diner in downtown Kaiserslautern for a free Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings.
The diner is typically an American-friendly “liquid diner,” or a bar with a small kitchen. On Thanksgiving, the bar will host a full buffet.
“We’ll be doing the whole thing: turkey, yams, dressing ... just no fruitcake,” said Lawrence “Chuck” Larsen, the bar owner. “The meal is on me. Only drinks cost money, unless you’re the designated driver, then (nonalcoholic) drinks are free.”
Larsen, who was once an airman at Ramstein Air Base, said he is happy to treat servicemembers to a free, warm dinner in an American atmosphere.
“I know there are guys out there who don’t have anywhere to go,” Larsen said. “This is better than just sitting alone at the dorms.”
The setting, though, is not targeted for families, Larsen said, rather younger troops.
Single servicemembers looking for a tamer holiday can turn to the Ramstein South Chapel. There will be free dinners with the Single’s Ministry and Hospitality House in conjunction with the chapel.
“It’s really cozy, like someone inviting you to their house,” said Senior Airman Jessica Barba, a chaplain assistant.
Host families also are available and willing to take in single servicemembers at the last second for a fully paid meal, Barba said, part of the chapel’s Home Away From Home project.
“There shouldn’t be an excuse for people not having anywhere to go,” Barba said.
The dining facilities at Rhine Ordnance Barracks and Kleber Kaserne also will offer dinner.
Around 600 people are expected to attend. Work and planning for the dinner has been ongoing for several months, said Sgt. Melvin Dunbar, Kleber dining facility manager. “It’s the biggest meal we do all year,” Dunbar said. “It’s pretty hectic.”