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Chaldean Thanksgiving is All About Giving
By Rita Abro :: Thursday, November 27, 2008 :: 24407 Views :: Article Rating :: Living & Lifestyle, Community & Culture, Government & Society

Michigan, USA – On this day of gratitude, commonly referred to as Thanksgiving, Chaldeans help show the spirit of good will and giving.  Chaldeans throughout the metro-Detroit area are once again out in full force helping their neighbors this thanksgiving.  Chaldean churches, businesses, and Chaldean charity organizations will be giving out well over a thousand turkeys and side foods to needy families.  Chaldean churches and groups like the Chaldean American Ladies of Charity, Chaldean Teens Coming Together, and Chaldean American Professionals plan on distributing thanksgiving meals and turkeys. 

Other Chaldean charity groups like UR of the Chaldees are buying grocery for seniors who live alone. Adopt-A-Refugee-Family is raising funds to help needy refugee families scattered throughout the world.  The Newcomers group is taking underprivileged youth out on field trips.  Chaldean grocery stores and restaurants are also helping. 

Danny Yono, owner of J's Kabob restaurant will provide free Thanksgiving feasts for anyone who can’t afford a meal with the trimmings or doesn’t want to eat alone.  From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, J’s Kabob, 2941 Coolidge, Berkley, will host its second annual free Thanksgiving Day dinner. Anyone can get a carryout of turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn and rolls.

Owner Danny Yono sets up a tent for his holiday diners to eat outside. He served 300 people last year.  “They were all ages from single people to whole families,” Yono said. “One 77-year-old man was planning to eat macaroni and cheese by himself until one of my customers told him about the dinner.”

Yono won’t say how much he spends to give away hundreds of meals. “I don’t keep track,” he said. “I can tell you the experience is priceless for me. It’s a good feeling.” Yono doesn’t even want a simple thank you for all the shopping and cooking.  “I tell people, ‘Don’t thank me. Thank God. Without him I couldn’t do it.’”

Talal Tooma of Starlight Liquor and Deli in Detroit is giving away free turkey sub sandwiches to his neighbors in need.  “We are in a very poor section of Detroit.  Some of the families are only able to eat one meal a day if their lucky.  We work with the local Catholic Church and donate food from the deli during the year.  On Thanksgiving we make over a thousand free lunch bags for our neighbors.  We include an 8” gourmet deli sub, a side of mash potatoes, coleslaw, pickle, and drink,” says Tooma. 

Sandy Shammas of Gold N Crust bakery in Sterling Heights donates hundreds and hundreds of loaves of bread to soup kitchens, Churches, and Michigan food pantry.  “God has blessed us and we have to show our appreciation by helping others.  We give away fresh baked bread to help those who are feeding God’s children.  We just delivered about a hundred loaves to a church who will use the bread during their thanksgiving meals for the needy.”

Economic estimates place charitable giving by Chaldeans in the multiple millions annually to local neighborhoods, schools, churches, and charities.  “It is part of our culture, our faith, our people,” says Sam Sesi, Detroit school teacher.  “The kids in my class did not have school supplies.  I mentioned how hard it was to some of my friends.  The following weekend a handful of my friends brought me ten boxes of school supplies for the children in my class.  It is just the way we are.”