What to Know
- Catholic Charities organized a turkey distribution event in Jamaica, Queens where 900 turkeys were handed out Thursday.
- The line to get a turkey Thursday stretched several blocks, with some people getting in line around 4 a.m.
- Two more distribution events are scheduled.
Holiday cheer was tucked into bright blue bags by the hundreds as New Yorkers stood in line to pick up a centerpiece of the Thanksgiving holiday: a turkey.
Catholic Charities organized a turkey distribution event in Jamaica, Queens where 900 turkeys were handed out Thursday. Two more distribution events are scheduled.
Caroline Smith, of Queens, says she wouldn’t have with had a turkey for Thanksgiving without this help.
“This is very helpful and I’m thankful they are giving out the turkeys," Smith said.
Rev. Monsignor Alfred Lopinto, president and CEO of Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens, said the event was a way to show that they care for those in the community.
“For us it’s a way of showing that we stand with the people at this time of the year and enable them to get what they need in order to make a holiday," he said.
The line to get a turkey Thursday stretched several blocks, with some people getting in line around 4 a.m.
The hours long wait made a bit more manageable by the festive atmosphere and friendly volunteers, but was a reminder of the hardship many are experiencing.
Thursday's event took about 100 volunteers to pull off.
"It’s a good feeling to be able to help when you can and that’s what we’ve tried to do as an organization and as a family," Vincent Gaynor, member of the Local 638 Steamfitters, said.
Gaynor made sure to make volunteering a family affair, bringing along his 11-year-old, Jackson, who described the experience as transformative.
“I was like, 'wow!' There are so many people who are in need and I'm really grateful that I have what I have," Jackson said.
Years ago, Catholic Charities gave out other food in addition to the turkeys. Things changed with COVID. Now, everyone leaves with two $50 vouchers they can use at any grocery store -- giving people the chance to add their own flare to their holiday meal and set the stresses of the pandemic aside.
“This takes your mind off the struggle for a minute and you are grateful for everything you know. I appreciate it," one person said.
“It makes us feel good and it helps a lot of people in our hometown," volunteer Dena Hinrichs said.
All together, Catholic Charities will hand out 3,000 turkeys across three events.
The next, and the last one, will take place in Corona on Monday.
These events ensure that New Yorkers, like Moises Hernandez, have one less thing to worry about during the Thanksgiving holiday.
“I’m very blessed and happy," Hernandez said.