More than 1,700 have signed up to receive free turkey dinners and children's toys for Big Pappa's Gyros annual Christmas charity dinner.
The 1,700 requests represent the hungry, homeless, working poor, unemployed and others facing financial difficulties. Anyone who can't get home for Christmas is also invited to have dinner at the restaurant.
Many of the dinners are going to Oak Lawn seniors who are alone this Christmas.
This past Thursday, the St. Linus Men's Club collected over $2,000 in monetary donations, as well as gifts of toys, turkeys and other supplies at the Goal Post. A steady stream of turkeys and checks arrived throughout the evening, which also happened to be the men's club's basketball league draft.
A grateful Sandi Digangi took a brief break from the 100-plus hours she stands on her feet at Big Pappa’s Gyros, which she co-owns with life partner Eddie Memishi.
This is the third year that Sandi and Eddie are offering free turkey dinners with all the trimmings to local residents facing financial difficulties on Christmas—no questions asked.
Families and individuals can come by the restaurant and pick up dinners or if they have no way of getting there, volunteers will deliver them.
Big Pappa’s is still in need of dessert pies. If you’re out and about on Saturday picking up items for your own family's Christmas, why not pick up an extra pie and drop it off anytime after 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 22, at Big Pappa’s Mr. Gyros at 10806 S. Cicero Ave.
Sandi has had a tough year health wise and is undergoing treatment for cancer. Family and friends tried to talk her into canceling the charity dinner giveaway this year, but she is focused on her quest to feed the hungry.
The ailing restaurant owner is dedicating this year's Christmas dinner giveaway to the 20 children and six teachers who lost their lives in the Newtown, CT, school shooting.
A Frankfort woman called on Thursday to say that she ordered 26 pies in memory of the victims.
“I just lost it,” Sandi said. “I lost my five-year-old son in a fire. I know what the parents are going through. Their hearts are gone. The worst thing you can do as a parent, is bury your kid.”
Sandi said the restaurant has already received 59 turkeys. The wings and drumsticks have been donated to local soup kitches. What they don’t receive in donations, Sandi and Eddie pay for out of their own pocket. Costs for this year’s dinner for 1,700 are expected to range between $6,000 and $7,000. Their friends are doing everything they can to help the couple defray those costs.
Pies can be dropped off at Big Pappa’s Gyros at 10806 S. Cicero Ave. in the Oak Tree Plaza starting at 11 a.m. through 9 p.m. Saturday.
Pies and other donations will also be accepted on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
If you have a few hours to spare on Christmas Day, volunteers are still needed to cook, prepare food, box and deliver dinners.
For more information, call Sandi and Eddie at 708-741-4014.
But just drop off a pie.
Places to get pie:
- Jewel, three locations, 8801 S. Ridgeland, 4650 S. 103rd St., and 9424 S. Pulaski Road
- Fairplay Foods
- Fresh Pick
- Huck Finn Donuts
- Les Bros.
- Velvet Cake Bakery
- Tuzik's Bakery