BENSONHURST — Operation Gobbler Giving provided Thanksgiving meals to Southwest Brooklyn families again this year, giving business and civic leaders from Bensonhurst, Bath Beach and Bay Ridge a chance to join together to help ensure that Thanksgiving would be a special holiday for neighbors in need.
Over 600 turkeys, along with hams, sweet potatoes and all the trimmings, were donated this year to Reaching-Out Community Services, a nonprofit Bensonhurst-based charity that has fed thousands of hungry families in Southwest Brooklyn, according to Thomas Neve, the founder and executive director of the organization.
The group, which operates a food pantry out of a storefront at 7708 New Utrecht Ave., distributes hundreds of free turkeys at its Operation Gobbler Giving event each year. The distribution traditionally takes place on the Monday before Thanksgiving, and City Harvest, another nonprofit, provides all the trimmings to go along with the turkey.
On Monday Nov. 25, the line in front of Reaching-Out stretched around the block as hundreds of people waited to pick up free holiday meals from a sidewalk full of vendors. And as a special treat, Tom the Turkey was there to help greet those waiting in line.
Rotary Club of Verrazano member Mike Iacobucci said his group helps support Reaching-Out by donating money every month to help feed the hungry.
“I’ve been doing this for many years,” Iacobucci told this paper. “And every year, I get more and more emotional because so many people ask for it and you see a lot of new faces. I’m so proud to be part of the Rotary Club of Verrazano because we are able to help out.”
Neve said that this was his organization’s 14th annual Operation Gobbler Giving. “We do this event every year to help many of our clients,” Neve told this paper. “We give them turkeys with all the trimmings that go with it. Thanksgiving is every day here at Reaching-Out, but these are the organizations and companies that come together to make this happen, like the Rotary Club of Verrazano who donated over 300 turkeys.”
Neve continued, “Let’s keep in mind that we had 2,500 families asking for the turkey packages but we were only able to secure 630 of them. So, unfortunately we can’t reach everybody. We just want to make sure that this is something everyone can celebrate along with the rest of us who are fortunate that we can have a Thanksgiving meal with our family. That’s the reason why we make this a special day, to see how we can reach out to families who need a helping hand.”