Giving thanks once again to a local food pantry.
Reaching-Out Community Services held its annual Operation Gobbler Giving event on a chilly Monday, November 21.
A line stretched around the block from the center, 7708 New Utrecht Avenue, as the non-profit organization provided turkeys and all the trimmings for hundreds of families currently struggling financially.
“This is a program for people that are hoping to enjoy their Thanksgiving with everybody else,” said Tom Neve, RCS executive director. “Many people say unfortunately that things are so tight. They were going to skimp on their Thanksgiving meal, but because this organization was able to help them, they can join in with the rest of us and enjoy their Thanksgiving holiday without the stress of worrying if they afford to do so. And that’s the good part, enabling everybody to fit in and enjoy the holiday as well.”
Those that benefited for the organization’s good will were thrilled. “This means everything,” said Randall Seyfried, who received his meal. “I’m on disability and they give you very little money. All of my check goes to my rent so this is a huge help to my wife and me. If it wasn’t for this place, I don’t know what we’d do.”
“I think it’s a splendid thing they do,” added Candace Greene. “I’m a single parent. They’re helping people who can’t afford turkey dinner, giving it to those in need of feeding their families.”
Volunteers were also happy with the experience. “Every day for our people is Thanksgiving,” said assistant Linda Neve. “We are always giving every day of the year. This is just a little extra something that we are bringing to their tables. This is a big event for our organization. It makes our hearts feel happy so it was our joy that we give because we believe in giving back to those unfortunate.”
“I love Reaching-Out,” added volunteer Teresa Pandolfo, who had been helping out since 9 a.m. “They’re always there for me and whenever they need us, we call them and they come.”
For Neve, this year’s event was a struggle. “This event has been a little more challenging,” he said. “Unfortunately, there seem to be a lot more people that were requesting and not as many supplies as we normally get.”
While, he noted, the Rotary Club of Verrazano was a big help this year as they donated 250 turkeys, Reaching-Out, said Neve, also used funds raised on line to purchase additional ones.