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VOL 3. NO. 22 Monday, June 11 - Sunday, June 17, 2001

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Real Men Cooking Up Tasty Treats For the Community
By Avonie BROWN

Yvette Jackson Moyo and husband Kofi Moyo, Courtesy Photo

There will be a tasty treat for everyone. Courtesy photo

On June 17 while much of the world will pause to put the spotlight on fathers, a special group of men will converge on RFK Stadium to selflessly give of their time and culinary talents in support of the community. Now in its third year in Washington, D.C., Real Men Cook is a unique Father's Day celebration which began 12 years ago in Chicago. The event was initiated by the husband and wife team of Kofi Moyo and Yvette Jackson Moyo, chief executive officer and president of the Chicago-based marketing firm, Resource Associates International, Ltd. (RAI).

Now the longest running African-American Father's Day event, Real Men Cook was organized to provide a wholesome community-friendly and family-focused alternative to the traditional Father's Day celebration. What began as a single city event has now spread across the country and is fast becoming a national tradition. In addition to Chicago, this year Real Men will be cooking up a storm in Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Ft. Lauderdale, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

On this their special day, fathers will participate in something that adds real value to the community. Not only will they prepare their favorite dishes, they will also serve samples of these tasty treats to those in attendance. The event will provide wholesome family entertainment, affirm the positive values of the African-American community and culture, as well as raise funds to support local charities/non-profit organizations.

This year's beneficiaries are Communities in Schools of Washington, DC and 100 Black Men of Greater Washington, DC. The mandate of these two groups is consistent with the underlying philosophy of Real Men Cook, both champion the importance of caring and taking responsibility for our lives, our families and community. In that regard Real Men Cook has taken on the initiatives to encourage seat belt safety as well as stress the importance for African-American men over 40 to get screened for prostate cancer.

As Real Men Cook co-founder Kofi Moyo reminded us, "Real Men Cook participants have shown that despite highly publicized disturbing statistics African-American men want to provide for their families and communities. It's the epitome of the African-American family value system and it sends a message that real men work, real men provide, real men care and real men cook!"

Rod Sallay concurs. "This event speaks to the character of the men who participate," said Sallay, area spokesman for Real Men Cook and CEO of Creative Communication Concepts. "They spend their money to get the ingredients for the dish they choose to make, they pay their $25 registration fee and then they show up to serve the food. These are men who care, these are men who are involved and are taking responsibility for their families and community and who are prepared to support programs that support our community."

Sallay, who will once again tantalize our taste buds with his "Deliteful Cheesecake," said that it is an enriching experience for all the men who participate and a celebration that the whole family can enjoy. He said that for the price of admission you will be able to sample all the tasty treats prepared by more than 30 chefs. In addition to the food, there will be other interactive activities to keep everyone entertained. Children and adults can participate in the Home Deport workshop where they can learn to build everything from a toolbox or even a birdhouse for dad.

While the event focuses on the active contributions of men, women also play a significant role in the success of Real Men Cook. "Real Men need Real Women to participate because they are the majority of the ticket buyers," said Sallay. And if the fundraising component is to be a success they will need strong ticket sales. Women are also actively involved in a range of volunteer capacity and also serve as the "cook's assistant" although Sallay said that men are encouraged to reserve this role for their sons or a mentee, where possible.

While the District's version of Real Men Cook has not yielded the kind of turn-out organizers have hoped for, each year's participation and support consistently grows. Organizers are also encouraged by the broad community based support the Chicago event is now able to generate. There they had over 150 volunteer cooks and have been able to raise funds in excess of $117,000 -- a combination of corporate sponsorship and ticket sales.

The call goes out to all you amateur and not-so-amateur chefs to whip up your favorite dish for the cause, and to all who enjoy good food to come on down for the tasty treats and the community fellowship.

Ticket prices are $15 for adults and $10 for children under 12. To register or to purchase tickets call the DC Real Men Cook hotline at 202-797-7709 or the national information line at 877-973-2563. Your may also visit their website at www.realmencook.com.

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