As Thanksgiving approaches, one Bronx community will be giving back to those less fortunate.
Starting the week after Thanksgiving, P.S. 83 will work in conjunction with the 49th Precinct for its annual holiday food drive event.
Started nine years ago, the drive was designed to feed many in the community who go hungry during the holiday season. The program was organized by Joseph Thompson, 49th Precinct Community Council president.
“We realized that people were giving away toys for the holiday season and those are plentiful, however they weren’t giving away food which is more scarce,” explained Thompson. “Some people don’t have food for the holidays and they’re hungry.”
According to Thompson, last year’s drive collected between 7,000 through 8,000 pounds of food for the needy and less fortunate in the community.
Approximately 1,600 to 1,700 pounds of dry goods were also contributed to last year’s drive.
“Our philosophy is this, we don’t do the city program,” he said. “We have a lot of people in the Community Board 11 area and we have so many hungry people here.”
P.S. 83 has been involved with this worthy cause for these past years and their involvement as well as commitment to this drive is certainly visible.
“It’s been a very positive experience and everyone participates,” explained Brandon Muccino, principal at P.S. 83. “The Holiday Food Drive is done in partnership with the 49th Precinct’s Community Affairs Department and we get the whole community involved. We have ‘van loads’ of food leaving this building.”
“The kids love to give back to the community and they give as much as you would expect them to,” revealed Thompson. “Everyone works with it and they are pleased be how successful it is in helping people.”
Thompson divulged that many businesses within the area donate 15 turkeys each which are sent to different senior centers throughout the area.
Thompson shared one example of the community giving back to those in need.
The Cub Scout Pack 162 set up a donation area outside of a local supermarket. The group spent a total of four hours in the cold autumn weather and collected 1,500 pounds of food throughout the entire duration.
“The students and community are amazed by the amounts we raise for this annual drive and it makes them understand how important we are in raising donations that go towards those in need in the community,” expressed Muccino. “It makes us realize just how fortunate we really are.”
The drive goes for three weeks, officially beginning the week after Thanksgiving and continuing until the week before Christmas. Everyone is invited to contribute whatever non-perishable food they can to this efffort.
“In the hallway of both of our school buildings, there are baskets that any community member can place a donation for the drive,” said Muccino. “Everyone is welcome to make a contribution to this worthy cause.”
Thompson added that any non-perishable as well as non-expired food items can be delivered to the 49th Precinct after Thanksgiving and it will be set aside for the upcoming annual food drive.
“I love this program and it really serves its intended purpose of giving back to those in the community who do not have as much as the rest,” said Thompson. “It’s been a pleasure to work with everyone and it’s gratifying to witness the joy people show when receiving these donations for their holiday.”