WEST PULLMAN — Real Men Cook — which has honored men on Father's Day for positive community involvement — celebrates its 25th anniversary Sunday.
The event by the Real Men Charities nonprofit runs from 3-6 p.m. at The Legacy, 11901 S. Loomis St., which sits across the street from the Ray & Joan Kroc Community Center where it was held last year. Tickets, which can also be bought online, are $25 for adults, $10 for seniors and children ages 5-12.
This year’s indoor and outdoor cookout event will feature 120 men cooking everything from grilled chicken and ribs to catfish and steak. Each cook completed a certification course to ensure they were aware of food safety requirements.
“We certainly don’t want anyone getting food poisoning because food was not cooked right,” said Rael Jackson, president of Real Men Cook.
Last year 3,000 people attended, according to Jackson, who said he expects that number to double this year.
For the last 25 years, Jackson said, the purpose of the event has not changed since being founded by his parents Kofi Moyo and Yvette Moyo-Gillard.
“It has always been our goal to showcase positive attributes of men. There are not many positive images of men in our neighborhoods on TV. We want to show people that there are positive men that do exist especially in black communities,” Jackson said.
“The fact that some men can cook too, well I guess you can say that’s the ‘hook’ to us getting people to the event.”
In addition to food and drink, the family event features music by local entertainers.
Moyo said it is important for people to know that the Real Men Cook event, which will be held simultaneously in Atlanta, is not a barbecue “but a gathering of people interested in raising awareness about deserving fathers.”
The event began when Moyo would invite families over to his house on Sundays for a potluck. From that point he said it became a family tradition that grew to include people from all walks of life.
The annual event is also a fundraiser for the organization, which Jackson said costs $100,000 to produce.
"When men cook, families and friends come together and conversations begin. It's time for the next generation to come to the table, because the only way we can slow the violence in our city is when families begin to talk with our kids," Jackson said.
This year’s sponsors for the event include the Black McDonald’s Operators Association, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, ComEd, State Farm and the University of Chicago Medicine.
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