Volunteers cook hot meals for Afghan refugees

TULSA, Okla. — Cooks spent several hours in the kitchen at Catholic Charities preparing meals for about 800 Afghan refugees, Thursday night.

“That’s our joy to provide this food for them,” Michael Egan, founder of the Khan Ohana Foundation, said.

Egan’s organization began as a small food pantry to help feed the hungry in Green Country. Now, nearly 700 volunteers from Khan Ohana are coming forward to welcome 200 Afghan families that were forced to leave their home country.

“The number of people that have signed up is really heartwarming,” Egan said.

The challenge, aside from preparing 800 hot meals, is cooking foods that Afghan families are familiar with. Egan said smoked Oklahoma bar-b-que won’t cut it, so he called upon cooks with Middle-Eastern roots to whip up meals they will all enjoy.

“It’s very easy for them to adapt and cut out a few spices or add spices and prepare food that they’re familiar with,” he said.

They have already prepared traditional Afghan meals for four families now settled in Tulsa, like kabuli palao, a rice and lamb dish that is a staple in Afghan cuisine.

“We’ve heard back that they really appreciate the meals, because it’s a home-cooked meal,” he said.

Home cooked meals in their new home.

“I think that’s going to be a great addition to the Tulsa community,” Egan said.

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