By: Duane Blankenship | Category: Special Interest | Issue: November 2007
Christine Madewell and Eddie Chamat, owner of Duffy’s Restaurant, are preparing for the 19th Annual Free Thanksgiving Dinner that will serve nearly 1,000 members of the community.
Eddie Chamat, owner of Duffy’s Restaurant, genuinely appreciates doing business in Broken Arrow. When Chamat bought the restaurant almost 20 years ago, he established a tradition of giving back to the community by distributing free meals. This year, Duffy’s will host its 19th Annual Free Thanksgiving Dinner.
Chamat began the Thanksgiving tradition in gratitude to the community and to all his loyal patrons. Anywhere from 800 to 1,000 meals are served at the event each year to the needy and to those customers who, for one reason or another, like spending Thanksgiving Day at the restaurant. The traditional Thanksgiving dinner includes the preparation of 35 turkeys and all the trimmings: dressing, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, dinner rolls, beverages and pumpkin pie. This year’s meal will be served November 22, Thanksgiving Day, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Many Duffy’s employees volunteer for the event each year to make the event the tremendous success it is. Additionally, volunteers from the Broken Arrow community pitch in to help. Churches, families, volunteer organizations and even Duffy’s customers join together to prepare the dinner, serve it and clean up afterwards. Although many stay the entire time, volunteers can help for any length of time. Volunteers are always needed to come in after dinner and help with cleaning up.
Many community volunteers have helped make the outreach dinner a success throughout the years. Some of which include Gary Whitaker and Sisco Foods, Don Admire and Frontier Produce, the Broken Arrow Police Department, First Baptist Church, Duffy’s customers and many more members of the Broken Arrow community. More than 30 volunteers contribute their time and energy each year to making Thanksgiving dinner a reality for many people that have nowhere else to go.
The Duffy’s team looks forward to helping others have an enjoyable Thanksgiving.
According to Chamat, 50 percent of the people who attend are considered to be people in need. The other 50 percent is made up of customers who are alone for Thanksgiving, people who have no family, those who just enjoy the food at Duffy’s, as well as people who want to lend a helping hand.
Many Thanksgiving dinner attendees make cash donations to help defray event expenses. People in the community also make anonymous donations each year. Chamat wishes to thank everyone who helps make the free Thanksgiving dinner tradition continue each year. He is also appreciative of the many faithful Duffy’s customers.
For more information about lending a helping hand for this year’s free Thanksgiving dinner, call Duffy’s at (918) 251-3285. Many opportunities are available to help out with dinner preparations, seating, serving, as well as cleaning up after dinner. Those who wish to help Broken Arrow’s less fortunate may also donate turkeys or make cash donations. Whether you decide to volunteer your time or money or just enjoy a free meal, stop by Duffy’s Restaurant at 81st Street and South Elm Place for a wonderful time.
Blankenship graduated from the University of Oklahoma and has enjoyed a lifetime career in advertising. He started his own advertising business in 1993 and enjoys creating graphic art and writing. Hobbies include hunting, fishing and pencil drawings. Duane and his wife, Janice, have been married over 50 years and are active in their church and community. He has been a contributing writer for Value News/Values Magazine since 2005.