Preparing Free Thanksgiving for Hundreds

It's Peck's fifth year coordinating a fully donated Thanksgiving feast for the needy

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Patti Peck of Dutchess County dedicates herself to making sure needy families enjoy a nice holiday meal just before Thanksgiving.

    Out of the 364 days a year she spends volunteering, this Tuesday night in Fishkill, N.Y. might be Patti Peck's personal Super Bowl event.

    It's when she executes all her planning for a fully donated banquet serving hundreds of people.

    She collected the food filling up the kitchen; recruited the friends staffing the event; and convinced the Ramada Inn to donate the decorated ballroom hosting the hungry.

    "I wanted them to feel like a queen for a day," said Peck. "Come to a ballroom, with chandeliers and real china and glass dishes and everything beautiful. And that's what we have."

    It's Peck's fifth year putting together the event for the community, but the self-dubbed volunteeraholic could be the one on the receiving end: She lives on Social Security and disability, and has a condition similar to muscular dystrophy that causes her pain in the legs constantly.

    But modesty prevents Peck from feeling sorry for herself. In fact, she wouldn't even consider herself special.

    Diners at the Thanksgiving dinner Tuesday night would disagree.

    "She is extraordinary," said diner Gretchen Reed. "I've never seen anyone do it quite the way she does it."

    It's no work for Peck: "It's my passion in life," she said. "It's what I live for."