Champaign, Ill. (WCIA) — Today, some people celebrated Thanksgiving in a slightly different way. It is called “Wingsgiving,” and it is one restaurant’s way of giving back to the community with free food.
For most people, Thanksgiving is all about the turkey, but for restaurant owner Sahil Contractor, it is all about a different bird. He says the best way to give thanks is by giving chicken wings.
“I still find a way to, you know, give back to the people that, you know, are the reason we’re here because without the community we’re nothing,” says Contractor.
He started Wingsgiving the first year he purchased the Wingstop on South Neil street. This is the event’s fourth year.
Contractor says the reason does not matter. If someone comes in, they are walking out with a box full of free food.
Contractor purchased over $2,000 worth of chicken to serve the customers on this Thanksgiving day.
Whipping chicken is how they get the wings all drenched in Wingstop sauces. After preparing the food for an hour, people rushed in when they opened the doors at 11a.m.
Contractor says although he is in charge, it takes a lot of willing volunteers to serve the crowds — especially since he does not get any help from corporate.
“We’re prepared. Staff’s here. everyone is volunteering their time. Nobody is clocked in,” says Contractor. So, without them this would not be possible at all.”
One thing in particular makes it worthwhile: the customers.
“Neither of us have family around here, and this is awesome that they offer a free meal. And, [it] makes you feel more like Thanksgiving,” says customer Joe Shelton.
“This is the second year that we come here and got meals. So, we are very grateful for somebody in the town doing something like this,” adds Becky Shelton.
Contractor says it is always hard to keep track of exactly how many people come in for Wingsgiving, but he counted about 500 to-go boxes handed out just in the first 30 minutes alone this year.
“I just like to see the look on their face, and that pays automatically for everything I’ve been doing out-of-pocket,” says Contractor. So, that’s all I need.”