Thanksgiving dinners for those in need

November 20, 2012 Heather Chin
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As Thanksgiving closes in, the Brooklyn community has kicked into high gear to meet the needs of families all over the borough. Turkey and side dish giveaways at Reaching Out Community Services food pantry and Borough Hall, among other places, helped ensure that hundreds of families would have a full dinner this Thursday.

With nearly 100 people lined up outside the Reaching Out Community Services headquarters in Bensonhurst on Monday, November 19, volunteers and COO Thomas Neve braced themselves for what seemed would be a chaotic Thanksgiving meal giveaway.

“Sadly, we have 4,500 families registered,” said Neve. “Thanksgiving is important time for families. We always try to do something.” Along with turkeys for larger families and chicken roasts for smaller ones, the pantry also gave away trimmings.

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Lynette Terrhopa of Bible Faith holds a donated turkey.

Recipients seemed more than thankful to pick up the bag full of goods. “This is my fourth year here,” said recipient Joe Soto, a husband and father of four.

“With the economy the way it is, the things that Tom is doing are that much more important,” he said. “When people need extra help, we have somewhere to come.”

Councilmember Vincent Gentile was present. “Reaching Out does great work day after day, and Tom and the staff deserves the accolades and support of our community,” he said.

Despite floundering funding from donations recently — which has hit Reaching Out hard — Neve and his staff were able to secure enough turkeys and roasts to provide for the day’s giveaway.

Earlier in the day, at the borough president’s office, a massive giveaway was also underway. Representatives from 130 community groups met near the edifice’s steps to pick up their share of the turkey and trimmings to distribute to people in need all over Brooklyn.

“Thanks to the efforts of community groups, our generous sponsors and our volunteers,” Borough President Marty Markowitz said, “hundreds of families in need across Brooklyn will have a better Thanksgiving.”

The groups represented included everything from woman’s groups to food pantries, and hailed from all corners of Brooklyn, according to Markowitz’s office. After speeches by several officials, the representatives one by one, loaded their vehicles with the food. It is estimated that nearly 1,000 turkeys and “several tons of trimmings” were given away.

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