NANUET – Meals on Wheels of Rockland is continuing their annual tradition of delivering warm Thanksgiving meals to hundreds of residents. Three hundred meals are being delivered to elderly people in the community who are homebound for the holiday.
It is a Thanksgiving tradition for Rockland County Executive Ed Day, who’s getting a list of where he’s delivering hot meals from Rockland County Meals on Wheels President Don Hammond.
“Your heart gets full when you know that you’ve helped somebody and that’s really what Thanksgiving should really be all about, right?,” Hammond said.
Volunteers are thankful to make deliveries ensuring that no one goes hungry on Thanksgiving.
“When you think things are tough and you think that maybe you’re not getting a square deal to understand that you have people out there who have it much, much worse than you,” Day said.
MAHOPAC – Five hundred turkeys and $1,000 will be going to two local organizations in honor of Stop & Shop’s newest location in Mahopac on U.S. Route 6.
“That’s part of our job. It is a big part of our job to be involved with the community and support those that are less fortunate, and be a good neighbor in general,” Mahopac Stop & Shop Store Manager Scott Bertomeu said.
The Food Pantry of St. John’s received the monetary donation. While the Hillside Food Outreach Organization will distribute the 500 turkeys to families in need throughout Putnam County. A non-for-profit called, United Service Organization has benefited from donations made from Stop & Shop throughout the years and that will continue at this location.
“Stop & Shop is donating 500 turkeys and that’s going to put quite a dent in the need we have. And we’re going to be able to make sure all of our neighbors have a good Thanksgiving,” Hillside Food Outreach Executive Director Kathy Purdy said.
Donations large or small can go a long way, according to them.
“So last year, it was over $750,000 to the USO that they raised. And that’s within five years,” Senior Director of Development for the Eastern U.S. United Service Organizations Tonia White said.
The 49,000 square foot supermarket will also employ 150 people from Mahopac and Putnam County
“It is truly a community that comes together and it is nice to see that Stop & Shop has jumped right in to be apart of the community. It’s very welcoming,” St. John’s Food Pantry Director Nancy Gagne said.
HAVERSTRAW – Over 50 young people and a handful of adults from all over the North Rockland area brought their appetites to the Haverstraw Center’s 30th annual Reachout Thanksgiving luncheon at Don Coqui On The Hudson in Haverstraw.
“To give back. We are all so blessed to have family friends and a roof over our heads. And we love to share that with everyone and have a wonderful day,” Don Coqui On-The-Hudson Co-Owners Ed and Kathy Kobus said.
The food was donated by various community members and organizations, was prepared at Don Coqui, and served by seniors from Albertus Magnus High school.
The menu had classics like turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, and veggies. As well as desserts like cookies, apple, and pumpkin pie.
“I think it’s a beautiful view. We get to hang out with friends, family, and stuff. So I think its perfect,” Alyssa and Erin, 12, said.
Executive Ed Day stopped in to see the good happening in his county.
“It warms my heart. Is the best way I can say it. This is a collection of people who care,” Day said.
The restaurant owners hope to give back to their community again in the future.
HILLSIDE – New York Giants players teamed up with the Community Food Bank of New Jersey on Tuesday for a Thanksgiving tradition to end hunger. The players came to the food bank to help unload 15 hundred turkeys ahead of Thanksgiving on Thursday. Stop & Shop donated the turkeys, which will be sent right back out to some of the 800 partners the food bank has across the state.
The food bank usually has volunteers passing around turkeys during the holiday season, but this time it is allowing five New York Giants players to use their hands off the field and put them to good use in the community.
“These guys are as compassionate as they are big and talented players. It’s amazing to hear how some who were born right here in New Jersey are doing similar things in their home communities so it really helps to create another level of awareness,” Community Food Bank of New Jersey President and CEO Carlos Rodriguez said.
Giants Tight End Evan Engram said to be able to use his platform to give back is a blessing.
“It’s just a major blessing to be here and be part of a great cause helping a lot of people in need and being part of that is a great feeling and a blessing to be here,” Engram said.
Hillside Mayor Dahlia Vertreese, who was helping to pass the turkeys right along with the towering players, said they may show off their muscles on the field but it’s their hearts that are making the biggest impact.
“If the Giants can support this cause, you can support it too, you’re never too good to participate and make sure people are taken care of, when you’re privileged you should always make sure to give back,” Vertreese said.
The Community Food Bank of New Jersey will be distributing more than 25,000 turkeys this holiday season.
“We want to provide them, not just with the help this holiday season with the food that they need this holiday season, but also with the hope that they can hopefully rely on year round,” said Community Food Bank of New Jersey President and CEO Carlos Rodriguez.
On Monday, Rodriguez stood among mountains of boxes that were being loaded into vans and U- hauls for one of the food bank’s nine turkey distribution events this season. Rodriguez says it’s days like this that remind people of the real meaning of Thanksgiving, but also the holiday’s origins.
“This is really when community gave to community. When you think of the pilgrims and how the holiday came to be, it was really just neighbor helping another neighbor back then,” Rodriguez said.
The food bank’s partners in Essex County came to load their vehicles with turkeys, chickens and holiday boxes. Each box is complete with a turkey and all of the Thanksgiving trimmings.
Mary White helps run the soup kitchen at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Newark. The church, which has been a partner of the food bank for 15 years, feeds 200 people in the community, twice a month and it’s also hosting a Thanksgiving feast on the holiday for those who don’t have the means to celebrate.
“It is definitely a real need. It’s not a superficial thing. They don’t come because it’s free. They come because they need it,” White said
The Community Food Bank of New Jersey distributed 2,500 turkeys on Monday and is expected to give away 25,000 in total this season.