Videos, photos and full coverage of the movement that began Sept. 17, 2011

Thanksgiving Feast, Occupy Wall Street Style

Over 2,000 to 3,000 meals were being dished out at Zuccotti Park

By Ida Siegal
|  Thursday, Nov 24, 2011  |  Updated 4:53 PM EDT
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One Year Later: Occupy Wall Street Protests

NBC New York

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Hundreds of protesters dug into turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce as the Occupy Wall Street camp in lower Manhattan celebrated Thanksgiving.

About 300 demonstrators lined up in Zuccotti Park at a rack loaded with meals, served in plastic trays wrapped with brown paper.

Organizers said they had between 2,000 and 3,000 Thanksgiving meals available to distribute at Zuccotti Park, where the protest movement began on Sept. 17 before spreading nationwide. Protesters were evicted from the park on Nov. 15.

"So many people have given up so much to come and be a part of the movement because there is really that much dire need for community," said Megan Hayes, a chef and organizer with the Occupy Wall Street Kitchen in New York. "We decided to take this holiday opportunity to provide just that — community."

"Everybody's getting a meal today," said organizer Alex Borders. "There's not a person in this park that will not get a meal today. We're gonna make sure that everybody gets fed. Demonstrators to the security at Zuccotti Park have taken food."

The meals were donated from restaurants and individual donors. According to rules set by the park's owner, Brookfield Properties, food can be eaten in the park but not served in the park.

"If people want dessert, they have to actually go outside the park to get pie," said Occupy protester Steven Mabra. "To me, I think that's ridiculous."

Still, hundreds of people casually came through the park throughout the afternoon to have a bite and share the day.

As the crowd ate, a bongo player and a guitarist played the spiritual "Let it Shine."

Alicia Barends, who brought her two daughters, said, "I think the lesson for them is to just imagine a better world and to see an example of more cooperation."

The group is also strategizing for Friday, aiming to make a dent on Black Friday dividends this year.

"We are going to try and boycott Black Friday," said Haywood Carey. "It's easy. You don't buy anything."

The movement's slogan, "We are the 99," refers to the growing wealth gap between the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans and the remaining 99.

The effort was triggered by the high rate of unemployment and foreclosures, as well as the growing perception that big banks and corporations are not paying their fair share of taxes, yet are taking in huge bonuses while most Americans have seen their incomes drop.

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