Lewis County Drug Court graduate preparing free Easter meals in Centralia for ‘anybody and everybody’


As spring officially starts next week, Easter Sunday will soon be upon us.

On March 31, and Lewis County Drug Court graduate Leah Rader is once again preparing free meals to hand out at the Chevron she manages on South Tower Avenue in Centralia.

Meals will be served in to-go boxes starting at 10 a.m. on Easter Sunday and will consist of spaghetti with meatballs, rolls and a cookie. Food will be served until it runs out for “anybody and everybody,” a flier for the meal giveaway stated.

“Not a traditional Easter meal, but it’s what I can afford,” Rader told The Chronicle.

The Chevron station is located at 520 S. Tower Ave. in Centralia.

A mother of three, Rader first started serving up holiday meals to anyone who wanted one on Thanksgiving 2022, and since then has served up hundreds of meals each holiday on consecutive Thanksgivings, Christmases, Easter Sundays and Independence Days.

Rader began handing out holiday meals not only after she saw the similar efforts of the local Gather Church on Thanksgiving, but also following her own experience dealing with drug abuse, homelessness and just how much having a warm meal on a holiday can mean.

She won’t be alone in handing out meals either, as her family often joins to help along with her fellow Chevron employees and their families. Rader also hopes to inspire other businesses to help those in need during the holidays.

A Lewis County Drug Court graduate, Rader entered and completed the recovery program. Drug Court was created in 2004 and is a voluntary program for addicts charged with a felony, according to Drug Court Program Manager Stephanie Miller.

The program targets high need and risk offenders with a poor prognosis for success on their own. It aids them with structure and support using a three-phase recovery program. Drug Court lasts a minimum of 16 months with most participants graduating after 19 to 22 months.

To graduate, a Drug Court participant must have a full-time job, stable housing, complete recommended treatment, be clean for at least six months and in the program for at least 16 months, have a sober mentor and pay any court-ordered fines and restitution stemming from their case, Miller added. Once a person graduates, their charges are dismissed.

Rader graduated from Drug Court four years ago and has now been sober for six years.