By: Eddie Stephens | Category: Other | Issue: November 2006
L-R: Joan Naumann, Eddie Chamat, Sheryl Smith
“It’s something I do.” That’s simply how Eddie Chamat, Duffy’s Restaurant owner, describes the annual, free Thanksgiving dinner at his Broken Arrow location.
“I truly don’t know what I would do on Thanksgiving Day, if I didn’t do this.” Those who benefit from this annual event, in its 18th year, are certainly thankful he does it.
Chamat decided it was an appropriate gesture of gratitude to the community and his many loyal customers. “It’s an opportunity to help those who are in need, while treating my regular customers.
I want to thank the local customers who dine in my restaurant. Also, it helps many who may not be able to afford a Thanksgiving meal, and those who are unable to travel long distances to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal with their families.”
Duffy’s Restaurant is a second home to many of Chamat’s customers. To those who enjoy the traditional holiday meal at one of his tables, it’s as natural as pumpkin pie!
The event has become a traditional rallying point for those who volunteer their time preparing and serving the meal, including many of Duffy’s staff. Numerous families, local churches and other volunteer organizations give their time and energy to this holiday tradition of helping others.
“I see parents bringing their children to assist each year. My own family, including my kids, gets involved.
The volunteer response of so many throughout the community is appreciated. It is very rewarding to see the dedication of my own staff who volunteer their time,” says Eddie Chamat.
Volunteers assist with guest seating, preparation of food and beverages, serving and cleaning up. Individuals, churches and local organizations are invited to contact Duffy’s if they are interested in volunteering for this year’s event.
Chamat points out local food suppliers who help. Among them, he commends Gary Whitaker, of Sisco Foods.
Additionally, many restaurant customers donate turkeys. “It’s their way of helping,” Chamat says, adding, “We prepare 35 turkeys each year.”
The free meal consists of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, a roll, pumpkin pie and a beverage. Approximately 800 – 1000 people are served annually.
While reaching many, the event also touches each individual. Chamat is aware of how important the dinner is to participants.
“Many poignant letters are received during the days and weeks following Thanksgiving. I’m moved by how meaningful such a simple expression can be to those who are truly in need of a helping hand, and how both they, and those who assist in making it happen, benefit from the generosity given so openly. It’s really a big-deal to all who are involved in one way or another.”
Duffy’s Restaurant had been in operation one year when Chamat purchased it. For the past 18 years, the Broken Arrow location (one of three he owns), has been faithfully served by his wonderful staff.
Joan Naumann has been with the Broken Arrow establishment for all 18 years and Sheryl Smith has been there for 12 years.
A restaurant with a long-term staff, loyal customers and a history of generosity is destined for success. Duffy’s Restaurant sets the pace.
Enjoy Thanksgiving Day, November 23, between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. at Duffy’s Restaurant in Broken Arrow. They are thankful for the opportunity to reach out to others. You will be thankful too!