BY DEAN MOSES
With Thanksgiving less than 48 hours away, FeedingNYC has made a last-ditch effort to feed some of New York’s most needy residents before the holiday commences.
On Nov. 24, at Chelsea Piers—specifically Pier 60—40 volunteers braved the early hours of the frigid morning (in rotating shifts from 12 am to 11 am) packing over 5,000 Thanksgiving meals to families in shelters across New York City. The homeless population has grown immensely since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S over eight months ago, which when combined with drastic food shortages has created a perfect storm of misery that countless families have endured this year.
In an effort to elevate a modicum of that suffering—at least for one day—Win (Women in Need) and FeedingNYC teamed up to distribute over 5,000 turkeys, adding a grand total of 85,000 dinners that have now been delivered by this nearly two decade old charity event.
Founded by LivePerson CEO Robert LoCascio, this annual event aims to aid those living in shelters by supplying the underprivileged with hearty, holiday meals. What may appear to be a simple turkey to some can be a symbol of normalcy and hope for those who are in need, according to LoCasico.
“The thing about the crisis today is that people are in need, and those in shelters need to eat. FeedingNYC is about them and their families,” LoCascio told The Villager. He underscored that children are affected by the social stigma behind homelessness. A disconnect between families is created when children see their friends celebrating the holiday with a turkey meal, a luxury they themselves don’t have access to. “This is a single act. Anyone can do anything to touch one person,” he added.
FeedingNYC was initially created after the 911 terror attacks to help families struggling to rebuild. Now, almost twenty years later, the project hopes to aid in the wake of another disaster: COVID-19. Social distancing has reduced the volunteer workforce from 600 to 40 while supplies were even more difficult to gather due to shortages. Food insecurity has skyrocketed thanks to the pandemic, along with job loss, isolation from loved ones, and an onslaught of economic and resource disparities, affecting the black, brown families disproportionately. It is with this sentiment in mind, FeedingNYC’s main focus during this distribution will be coordinating with WIN, the metropolitan area’s largest provider of shelter services for women and children.
Despite the hurdles, FeedingNYC is determined to help as many people as possible this year with four delivery trucks on deck and at least one shelter in each borough receiving a delivery.