Giving thanks and bringing holiday cheer.
Reaching-Out Community Services is once again revving up to host its annual Operation Gobbler Giving event, during which the non-profit group will distribute turkeys and all the trimmings to hundreds of families currently struggling financially, as well as its Annual Operation Christmas Smiles event, which provides kids in need with fun and presents right before the holiday.
But, to make the events happen, Reaching-Out relies on, among other things, the generosity of local residents and businesses.
To make possible this year’s Thanksgiving event, to be held on Monday, November 19 outside the food pantry, 7708 New Utrecht Avenue, the group is once again looking for donations in order to provide turkeys and all the trimmings for 500-600 families.
“Thanksgiving is every day here but when it comes to the holiday, we try to allow as many families as possible to join in with the rest of us and celebrate,” said Tom Neve, RCS executive director. “We will hopefully be able to secure enough turkeys and trimmings for the clients that are registered with us. Our goal is obviously always to help neighbors in need, and not just neighbors.”
But, he stressed, “We don’t know what’s going to happen.”
To make its Thanksgiving giveaway possible, RCS is asking those who can to donate $20 to sponsor a family. People can also help by donating food items for the holiday season, such as turkeys, fruits, vegetables, cranberry sauce, stuffing, gravy, desserts and non-perishable foods.
“Reaching Out does not have a budget to deal with this,” Neve stressed. “We’re just hoping. We know we have a commitment from the Rotary Club of Verrazano. We’re so thankful for them. They give us over 250 turkeys every year and they’re a tremendous help. City Harvest hopefully will be chipping in. We might get around 80 turkeys from them. I know we need hundreds. That’s why we are asking our community members to join in together and get the good going. We’re just going to do the best we can.”
To donate by mail, send a check payable to Reaching-Out Community Services, 7708 New Utrecht Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11214.
“We want to give everyone an opportunity to feast along with the rest of us; hopefully, people can make that happen,” Neve added.
The goal for the annual Operation Christmas Smiles event is to provide toys to over 1,000 low-income children, said Neve.
At the Christmas party, some 600-700 kids are on hand. In addition, Neve said, RCS does “Santa on Wheels,” explaining, “We go to women and children shelters and the Marlboro houses.” Finally, on December 22, the group does an event at the senior center next door, where, said Neve, “We give out the remaining toys and see Santa. It’s really a lot of fun.”