By Caroline Ourso
CANARSIE — The Thomas Jefferson Democratic Club’s charity arm, TJ Cares, held its first Thanksgiving food drive last Thursday, collecting a bountiful harvest for the Canarsie Lions Club to donate to 10 underprivileged families.
A meticulously organized display of canned vegetables, pasta, rice, peanut butter and other foods decorated the main room of the club’s headquarters in Canarsie.
“As you can see, we had a great turnout,” said Mitchell Partnow, chair of TJ Cares. “We got a tremendous reaction from the community, and we’re happy to be the organization they give to.”
“This is the second successful event through TJ Cares that Mitchell has run,” said Sue Ann Partnow, the female leader for the 59th Assembly, who is also Mitchell’s mother. The first event was a barbecue for senior citizens in September.
“The outpouring of love from this community has been wonderful,” continued Sue Ann.
Mitchell began preparing for the food drive two months ago, enlisting the help of club members and several local assemblymembers and councilmembers and promoting the food drive via email and Facebook.
Assemblymember Jaime Williams and Councilmember Farah Louis and Democratic District Leaders Brad Reid, Josué Pierre and Geoffrey Davis brought food to add to the growing cornucopia, and Mitchell said he expected donations to continue as the night wore on.
“It’s like making our own harvest,” said Frank Seddio, the chairperson of the Kings County Democratic Party and the male leader for the 59th Assembly, jovially.
“This is what it means to be a Democrat,” added Pierre. “It’s about empathy.”
The food was given to 10 families via the Canarsie Lions Club at Temple Emanu-El of Canarsie on Monday.
Bishop Nathan Williams, who is president of the Canarsie Lions Club, said that the giveaway was combined with a brotherhood service.
“We want to make sure people don’t just see the T.J. Democratic Club as a political organization but as a community organization,” said Mitchell. “We’re here to help the community. We’re not just here to ask for your vote; we’re here also to give back.”
TJ Cares is already planning a coat drive in February and hopes to make the Thanksgiving food drive an annual effort.