‘I don’t want anybody to go hungry’: Boise bar offering free Thanksgiving meals

Mulligans bar
Posted at 5:08 PM, Nov 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-24 19:08:50-05

This article was originally published by Nicole Blanchard in the Idaho Statesman.

What started with a Facebook post has turned into an effort by a local bar to feed Boiseans in need on Thanksgiving Day.

Kaci Furniss, owner of Mulligans, 1009 W. Main St. in downtown Boise, saw a post her sister had shared on the social media site offering food for anyone in need. Furniss shared the post on her personal page.

“I reposted it because I was thinking, ‘I would do the same right now. I don’t want anybody to go hungry,’” she said in a phone interview.

She was discussing the post with Mulligans staff when they suggested hosting a Thanksgiving dinner at the bar. Furniss loved the idea.

“Let’s make it so it’s not a personal thing, it’s a community thing and we can give back to the community that has supported us all these years,” said Furniss, who has managed and tended bar at Mulligans for about 20 years and bought the bar four years ago.

Starting at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Mulligans will offer curbside pickup of free Thanksgiving meals prepared by staff. Furniss will be making some deliveries herself for people who aren’t able to leave the house, though she said her one-woman delivery capacity will be limited.

“(I’ve had) a few families with COVID that have reached out who can’t really get out of their house,” she said. “I’m going to do (the deliveries) myself because my staff has enough to worry about that day.”

Anyone interested in a meal — or making a donation — can message Mulligans on Facebook or call 208-336-6998 after 4 p.m. Furniss said staff are trying to schedule pickup times if possible, but people can also swing by the bar without getting in touch ahead of time. People who are 21 and older are welcome to eat at the bar if they bring a face mask, Furniss said.

Meals can be picked up anonymously, and donations are “accepted but not expected,” Furniss said. After announcing the plan on the bar’s Facebook page on Sunday evening, Furniss said she’s already had several unexpected donations in addition to the money and food her staff has contributed.

“I didn’t expect it, but there are a lot of people that do want to help out,” she said. “It’s bigger than I thought it was going to be, but I’m glad that it is.”

Though the bar typically hosts a charity golf tournament each year, it’s the first time in 26 years that it has offered a holiday meal — but it may not be the last time. Furniss said she’s considering making it a yearly tradition.

She emphasized that it’s not just for people who can’t afford a meal. She also wants to provide for anyone who may not have a place to go this Thanksgiving as coronavirus infections surge and health experts encourage avoiding holiday gatherings. She hopes the meal will be a respite from some of this year’s challenges.

“I know we’ve gone through some really hard times lately,” Furniss said, “and I was thinking, ‘There are probably people who are going through more than we are.’”