Chicago chef gives away 1,000 free turkeys for Thanksgiving

FOX 32 NEWS - In West Humboldt Park, the Turkey Chop restaurant closes its doors to customers every Monday, only to open them to needy families as a neighborhood soup kitchen.

Last year, they handed out hundreds of free turkeys on Thanksgiving Day. And this year, they’re doing it again, only on a much larger scale.

Last November, Chef Quentin Love wanted to sponsor a giveaway on a grand scale. He raised enough money to hand out 250 turkeys to needy families. This year he wanted to do it again, only he set his sights much higher.

"The impact wasn't big enough, we wanted to really increase the impact and show the people in Chicago that it's not just about the violence, but it's about the love that we do and not just about the things people constantly talk about in the media,” Love said.

Love’s goal is to give away a thousand turkeys, and with help from a friend, he decided to turn to crowd funding. He launched a GoFundMe page with a simple plea: "let's give away a thousand free turkeys.”

To better tell his story, Love produced an accompanying video.

The response from the public was better than anyone could have imagined.

"Within 30 days we not only made the 10 thousand dollar goal, but we exceeded it as of today and we are so proud and thankful for everyone who has given to us,” said organizer Douglas Simmons.

Cindy Blandon is a volunteer at the Turkey Chop, working in the soup kitchen every Monday for more than a year. For her, Wednesday’s give away is a labor of love. 

"The basic thing you can do for somebody else is to help them have a full stomach once a week at least, so for me, I'm good at it cause I have a big family and I'm used to cooking and I love to do it,” Blandon said.

Love and his volunteers will be busy again Thursday as they serve 2-thousand free thanksgiving meals at the Turkey Chop between noon and three.