For the first time, however, the meal will be served at the WestTown day shelter.
Haley Phelps, day shelter manager, said the organization was happy to partner with Turkey Tango as a way to offer a holiday meal to their clients.
“We’ve built a relationship with our guests over the years, and we wanted to do this for them,” Phelps said. “Many of them don’t have family or a place to spend the holidays, so this was a good opportunity.”
WestTown is a collaborative effort between the Homeless Alliance and approximately 17 partner organizations and ministries. The day shelter is run by City Care, a nonprofit ministry.
This time, Turkey Tango founders plan to serve 80 turkeys and sides to about 300 of Oklahoma City’s impoverished and homeless community. The event also has benefited one of Norman’s homeless shelters.
Phelps said the shelter normally feeds about 250 at lunch, so the expected crowd will not be a substantial increase, as many area shelters and churches offer similar services. What sets Turkey Tango apart is its founders’ commitment to serve fresh food.
Culinary Kitchen owner Claude Rappaport came up with the idea of using his demonstration-model TurboChef ovens to cook for the homeless. He and Clayton Bahr, a wine representative for Premium
Brands Wine & Spirits, determined how to best utilize them.
“I just started looking for shelters or organizations that we could work with to feed people,” Bahr said.
It didn’t take long. The TurboChef cooks a whole turkey in 45 minutes, so Rappaport, Bahr and other volunteers work through the night to bake the turkeys and deliver them still moist and fresh to the shelters.
“We just didn’t like the idea of serving frozen turkey and powdered potatoes,” Bahr said. “Claude’s idea has helped us deliver great food to people who deserve a great Thanksgiving dinner.”
Bahr approached a few area restaurants with the idea in 2008; a few signed up right away and have been with Turkey Tango ever since. Elena Farrar, general manager of The Wedge Pizzeria (4709 N. Western Ave.), was busy opening the second location in Deep Deuce when Bahr called.
“Honestly, I was so busy with the second store that I barely had time to think about it,” Farrar said. “It was easy to say ‘yes’ to Clayton, and easy to say ‘yes’ to helping feed people who needed food.”
The Wedge has donated the bread annually. Rococo Restaurant & Fine Wine, 2824 N. Pennsylvania Ave.; The Coach House, 6437 Avondale Dr.; Deep Fork Grill, 5418 N. Western Ave.; Interurban, 6100 W. Memorial Rd.; and The George Prime Steakhouse, 5900 Mosteller Dr., which is not open yet, also are donating food to the cause.