One local non-profit continued its tradition of giving this Thanksgiving.
On Thursday, November 23, over 100 volunteers – children included – helped prepare and serve Thanksgiving meals to close to 250 neighbors in need as part of Bay Ridge Cares’ fourth annual Thanksgiving give-back event.
The local organization prepared, served and delivered traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinners – complete with all the fixings – to a bevy of seniors and other local residents at Shore Hill (9000 Shore Road). The cooking started the day before at Dimitrios and Georgia Kaloidis Parochial School.
According to the volunteer group’s president, Karen Tadross, this year’s event was a smashing success.
“It went well considering it was a much bigger project than last year,” she told this paper, nothing that, this year, volunteers themselves participated in a large portion of the cooking needed to serve those on their list. “It requires a lot of coordination, much more than we’ve been used to in the past.
All in all, she said, a record-number of residents were served – many of whom either couldn’t afford a Thanksgiving dinner or simply had no place to go.
“There’s always something we can improve upon,” she admitted, noting that Bay Ridge Cares hopes for a bigger and better Thanksgiving give-back each year, “but our goal to feed as many people as we can was absolutely met.”
The event’s significance, Tadross stressed, is twofold.
“I think what makes this event such an important one is, first, that I don’t think a lot of people in Bay Ridge realize the extent of people who are actually hungry in our community,” she said. “It shocks people. The level of poverty and hunger in our community is quite stunning so, in that respect, it’s important to get the word out there and I think this program helps to accomplish that.”
Second, according to Tadross, is its impact – which, she noted, touches people on both sides of the serving spoon.
“We have so many wonderful people in our community who want to volunteer and participate but just don’t know how to,” she said. “We provide that opportunity for any and every one to get involved. That could be simply dropping off a pie, actually delivering a meal or peeling potatoes.”
Perhaps most significant, she said, is its impression on local youth.
“That trickles down to our youth,” she went on, “because this is one of our few events at Bay Ridge Cares that kids can really get involved with. Once they do, they see the community coming together to help others and that sends a strong message to our youth.”
The group’s massive serving, she stressed, could not be possible without the support of the community it calls home.
“We could not have done this without the support of so many of our community organizations and merchants,” Tadross said, noting that a bevy of local businesses provide Bay Ridge Cares with the means to make their meals at a fraction of the cost. “We couldn’t do this without their cooperation and their support.”