Walk into to Angie’s Restaurant in Logan, Utah, and you see what you would expect to see in any small town restaurant: good food and good people. What makes Angie’s Restaurant remarkable is how that combination came together to help women survivors of war a world away in Afghanistan.
For Angie’s Restaurant owner, Saboor Fahely, Afghanistan is not a far-off world. For Saboor, Afghanistan is home. He moved to Logan 30 years ago as a college student to attend Utah State University. To support himself, he worked at Angie’s as a dishwasher and slowly moved up to positions as a cook and in management. Eventually, he bought the restaurant. Along the way he married and raised a family in the safe college town, thousands of miles away from the violence and intolerant rule of his homeland.
To express how thankful he is for his adopted home, Saboor opens the doors of Angie’s every year to provide free Thanksgiving dinners with all of the trimmings. The event draws about 1,000 people from all walks of life—families with children, senior citizens, single people with nowhere to go. But this isn’t just a community feast. It’s dinner with a purpose.
For 20 years, Angie’s Thanksgiving diners have not only enjoyed a traditional meal with their community, they have raised money each year for a featured charity by dropping a donation in the fishbowl placed on the counter. This year, Saboor chose Women for Women International as the featured charity.
Although Saboor lives a comfortable life in Utah, he hasn’t forgotten what the women of Afghanistan are living through. He chose Women for Women International because he wanted to give the women tools to start their own businesses and the opportunity to obtain emotional support and counseling.
“I still have family members living in Afghanistan and am keenly aware of the problems the people face there… I’ve lived here for 30 years. I’ll probably die here,” he said. “But a part of my heart and a part of my soul is still there. You can’t divorce yourself from where you’re born and raised.”
The money raised from the dinner will enable the enrollment of a number of women in Women for Women International’s program as well as support the microcredit program in Afghanistan. The event also raised awareness in the Logan, Utah, community about the plight of women in Afghanistan.