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Oak Lawn restaurant to give away 1,200 turkey dinners this Christmas

Sandi DiGangi (right) with her children Michaline Nicolette Anthony partner Eddie Memishi will cook deliver more than 700 free turkey

Sandi DiGangi (right) with her children Michaline, Nicolette, Anthony and partner Eddie Memishi will cook and deliver more than 700 free turkey dinners to homebound seniors and other hungry people this Christmas. | Larry Ruehl~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 4, 2013 6:05AM



Santa won’t be the only one working up a sweat on Christmas Eve.

Sandi DiGangi and company plan to crank out 1,200 to 1,300 turkey dinners, replete with cranberry sauce and potatoes, inside the kitchen at Big Pappa’s Mr. Gyro’s restaurant in Oak Lawn.

DiGangi, her husband, Eddie Memishi, their kids and a host of volunteers will package up the dinners and then distribute them to hungry or homebound Southlanders on Christmas Day.

“I believe very strongly in giving back,” DiGangi said. She invited 20 senior citizens who had nowhere to go on Thanksgiving to the closed restaurant for a special holiday dinner.

“All of them would have been alone on Thanksgiving,” she said.

Now, she’s gearing up for Christmas. Already 50 people have called to get their names on the list.

Last year, Big Pappa’s handed out 1,048 dinners. This year, they’re gearing up for a couple hundred more.

The meals are made possible through donations of cash and food from local vendors. Last year, Starbucks,Whittingham Meats and Entenmann’s Bakery were among the donors. In addition, the Oak Lawn VFW, the St. Linus Men’s Club and Five Star Electronics also contributed to the cause.

DiGangi also collects new toys to be handed out to needy kids whose parents sign up for a dinner.

This will be the restaurant’s third year in business, and its third year giving away holiday meals to the needy.

Big Pappa’s is at 10806 S. Cicero Ave., Oak Lawn. If you would like to donate, volunteer or get your name on the list of recipients, call (708) 741-4014.



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