Bay Ridge

Homebound elderly residents get special delivery on Thanksgiving

December 1, 2014 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Rev. Paul Knudsen, pastor of Bethlehem Lutheran Church, and Fort Hamilton High School students made Thanksgiving a little less lonely for homebound senior citizens by delivering turkey dinners to them on Thursday. The meal distribution was coordinated by the Bay Ridge Center, which runs senior citizen programs. Photo courtesy of Bay Ridge Center

Frail and elderly Bay Ridge residents who couldn’t make it to the homes of relatives for Thanksgiving were still able to enjoy turkey dinners with all the trimmings, thanks to a group of volunteers.

The Bay Ridge Center, an organization that operates educational and recreational programs for senior citizens, put together dozens of volunteers to cook, wrap and deliver turkey dinners to more than 150 shut-ins on Thanksgiving. The center, formerly known as the Bay Ridge Center for Older Adults, is located in the basement of Bethlehem Lutheran Church at 411 Ovington Ave. and operates under the aegis of the New York City Department for the Aging. The church has housed the Bay Ridge Center for more than 30 years.

The volunteers who came to the center Thanksgiving morning to help out included Bay Ridge residents, Fort Hamilton High School students and boy scouts, all of whom gave up part of their own holiday to ensure that homebound senior citizens could enjoy a nice meal. The volunteers put the meal packages together and then set out in teams to deliver them to the seniors at their homes.

“The largest group of volunteers we had came from Fort Hamilton High School,” the Rev. Paul Knudsen, pastor of Bethlehem Lutheran Church, told the Brooklyn Eagle. “The students were wonderful. They brought a lot of enthusiasm and energy.”

Each package was prepared in the center’s kitchen and contained turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes and green beans. A separate package contained pie.

Samantha Churak, who coordinated the meal distribution program for the Bay Ridge Center, said the preparations began long before Thanksgiving.

“We sent letters out to our homebound seniors asking them if they wanted a meal delivered to them on Thanksgiving. We left it up to them to decide,” she told the Eagle.

The center has been delivering Thanksgiving meals for decades. “The seniors are usually vey grateful,” Churak said.

Kaye Houlihan, principal of Fort Hamilton High School, said she is very proud of her students for taking part in the meal distribution program.

“Our students do a great deal of community service,” she told the Eagle. Many of the students who helped out at the Bay Ridge Center belong to the school’s Reach Out Club. “Over 200 of our seniors are involved in that club. It helps them understand the value in giving back,” Houlihan said.

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