A Bay Ridge group got back to its roots this Thanksgiving by helping to put together 250 meals for local seniors and families.
Bay Ridge Cares – a local non-profit organization built on supporting those in need – welcomed more than 120 volunteers of all ages on Thurs., Nov. 22 to its fifth annual Thanksgiving give-back.
“It was wonderful,” rejoiced Bay Ridge Cares President Karen Tadross. “We served 105 sit-down meals at Shore Hill and then another 145 were delivered.”
Half of those deliveries –complete with all the fixings, she said –, went to residents of Shore Hill (9000 Shore Road) who were unable to make it downstairs for, what this year, was Thanksgiving “lunch.” The others were delivered to families as close as Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights and as far as Borough Park and Gravesend.
“There are a lot of people who can’t leave their rooms or maybe don’t want to come downstairs,” Tadross said of its Shore Hill drop-offs. Speeding up the clock, residents this year requested a noon serving time – a challenge Bay Ridge Cares graciously accepted.
“It was a very busy year,” she said. “This year we moved it up by an hour – we typically start serving around 1 p.m. – so it required a lot more in a shorter period of time.”
Though, Bay Ridge Cares had plenty of hands on deck to get things done. On top of 120 volunteers, Tadross said, 70 families donated desserts.
“We had pies for days,” she joked.
Seemingly, the only thing giving the pies a run for their money were the volunteers. The group set up shifts via a site called SignUpGenius prior to the event, which Tadross said, filled up not once, but twice.
“Within 24 hours all 80 of our initial shifts were gone,” she said. “We opened it up by about 45 and, within 12 more hours, those were filled up, too.”
However, the group didn’t turn anyone away.
“We were just filled to the gills,” Tadross said. “We didn’t turn anyone away. Even if they had nothing to do physically, even if they just sat down with a senior and spent time with them, that means so much to everyone involved.”
The annual Turkey Day feast, she said, is significant for Bay Ridge.
“It gives our community a chance to really shine,” she said. “We have such great people here and when you see that many volunteers coming out on a holiday – that’s just incredible.”
To boot, the event draws inspiration from Bay Ridge Cares’ birth. The Ridge-based 501(c)3 was founded at the end of 2012 in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, during which time its founding members delivered more than 25,000 meals to some of the hardest hit areas.
“For Bay Ridge Cares, it gives us an opportunity to get back to our roots, which was feeding people during Hurricane Sandy – that’s how we got our start,” Tadross said. “We’re filling a void that’s existed for a very long time – for our homebound, for our poor, for our disabled, and for seniors in general who are alone during the holidays.
“We’re just happy to do that,” she said.