By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
The ninth annual Homeless Alliance Turkey Tango event will provide Thanksgiving meals for Oklahoma City’s homeless this week.
Volunteers are needed to help prep and cook turkeys for the Thanksgiving lunches, which will be served on November 23 at the Day Shelter, located on the Westtown Homeless Resource Campus, 1724 NW 3rd St (east of Penn on 3rd & Virginia).
Guests of the Day Shelter on the Westtown Homeless Resource Campus will receive an early Thanksgiving lunch, thanks to the generosity of the community and local restaurants and businesses.
Because the organization feeds 200-300 people per meal per day, meals usually have to be planned in advance, which means turkeys must be cooked and frozen weeks before the event, but this year the prep will take place at Culinary Kitchen, 7222 N. Western Avenue, in Oklahoma City.
On Wednesday, November 23 from 4 to 8 a.m. volunteers will prep and cook this year’s turkeys in special ovens, which can roast a turkey in 45 minutes.
Starting 11:15 a.m. through 1 p.m., Thanksgiving meals will be served to more than 300 guests experiencing homelessness at the Day Shelter.
Several Oklahoma City restaurants and businesses have partnered with the Westtown Homeless Resource Campus to provide the early Thanksgiving meals to the homeless.
Participants include Vast, Picasso’s Café, Guernsey Park, Pizzeria Gusto, Hal Smith, Slaughter’s Hall, Aunt Pittypat’s Catering, and R&J Lounge.
Butterball and other community members have donated 100 turkeys for the feast. Providing the side dishes will be the participating restaurants.
We are excited to be a beneficiary of the Turkey Tango event,” said Kinsey Crocker, Director of Communications for Homeless Alliance. “Every year, a group of volunteers gets together to prepare turkeys for our Day Shelter, and Culinary Kitchen allows the volunteers to use their showroom ovens. It’s such an amazing concept and tremendous help.
“We serve breakfast and lunch to an average of 300 people every day at our Day Shelter, so finding the time and oven space to cook 100 turkeys for Thanksgiving can be a challenge when we are trying to keep up with the normal daily needs,” Crocker added. “Luckily, the volunteers, businesses and restaurants step in to help. Our guests appreciate the fresh turkey and gourmet side items that are donated.
“It’s a wonderful meal. We are blessed to have so many people, who care, to step in to help, not only during the holidays, but year-round.”
Volunteers can sign up online to help during the Tango Turkey event.
More than 1,500 people in Oklahoma City experience homelessness on any given night.
The Day Shelter on the Westtown Homeless Resource Campus provides a safe and warm place for people to go during the day where they are provided with access to food, showers, phones, computers, job placement, counseling and other support services to help them end their homelessness.
The Westtown Day Shelter serves an average of more than 300 guests daily. Services include breakfast and lunch, showers, telephones and computers.
In addition, guests at the Day Shelter have access to a variety of services from community agencies, which can assist them to work toward ending their homelessness. These services include mental health and substance abuse treatment, primary healthcare, veterans services, budgeting support, case management, job training and placement.
To make a donation or to learn more about the Homeless Alliance, visit homelessalliance.org.