HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — The Thanksgiving tradition is still alive as superheroes and story book princesses stand on the roof of Donatello Restaurant waving as people come in.
“Today is just all about gratitude, celebration of gratitude, giving, giving back, and it’s the greatest feeling in the world,” said a volunteer dressed as Batman.
Since 1987, Donatello’s has been serving Thanksgiving dinner to foster children and low-income families. They expect to seat close to 1,000 people in their dining room throughout the day.
“Tampa greeted us well, we came here in 1984, and Tampa took us in and supported us from the first day, and my father after a couple years wanted to do something to give back to the community,” said owner Gino Tiozzo.
Over the years, the event has grown into not just a dinner, but a celebration for the kids. And, every kid needs a hero.
“We want to say thank you because we love to come here and take some pictures, it’s a lot of good memories,” said one mom.
“I feel like we are at home because here we are all family, we can feel safe and feel like we can just enjoy it here,” said her son Jay Lopez.
Shavonna Duff and Abraham Mendez are from the Boys and Girls Club. They said not every family has the money for turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing.
“Like if you give something to someone if they are homeless you can be happy, too,” said Mendez.
This Thanksgiving is extra sentimental for owner Tiozzo. His father Guido, who started this tradition, passed away earlier this year.
“I think it would make him happier then us opening up the door any other day of the year,” said Tiozzo.