The Morris Park Kiwanis Club and the Westchester Village Kiwanisgave to those in need of help to have an enjoyable Thanksgiving feast this year.
On Saturday, November 20 members of both clubs distributed food to 220 families at St. Clare of Assisi Church, just days before Thanksgiving. The meals included frozen 14-pound turkeys and broccoli, and also gravy mix, stuffing mix, cranberry sauce, pasta, potatoes, apples, pears, pumpkin pie, soda, and apple cider.
The groups’ members used their own money to make the Thanksgiving dreams a reality. The families receiving the packages were recommended by church groups and civic associations, said Morris Park Kiwanis president Warren Golden. These included families from St. Clare’s of Assisi, Our Lady of Solace, St. Jerome’s, R.A.I.N., Morris Park Community Association, and the Salvation Army.
“We communicate with them and they send us a list of needy families,” Golden said. “We send letters to them and ask them if they would like to participate, and they send an acknowledgement back so we have a package for them when they come. It is pretty organized.”
Golden said the event has been going on for the past 29 years. Sal Conforto, a Kiwanis member, explained that while the two clubs sponsor the event, the food is purchased by individual members and does not come out of the clubs’ treasury. For example, he said, the pumpkin pie was donated by Joe Furgiuele and Joe Alongi. He called it truly a labor of love.
“This is our signature event for the year,” Conforto said. “It is truly a labor of love, because that is what Thanksgiving is all about: sharing with those less fortunate. The greatness of America is that we are willing to share with our neighbors who could use our support and love.”
Angela Politano, president of the Westchester Village Kiwanis Club, said that she and her daughter handle the paperwork for the event. People who receive packages of food often thank her, she said.
“I always have people thanking me for their packages, telling me that God has blessed me,” Politano said. “It is heartwarming, and the work we do here is very important. This is what Thanksgiving is all about: helping other people.”
Louis Stevans, 70, of Castle Hill heard about the program through his sister-in-law, who came to St. Clare’s to receive a package. He also hoped to get a turkey dinner.
“She told me that I might be able to get one too,” Stevans said. “I am retired, and cannot afford to buy turkey at Thanksgiving.”
Golden said that any left over food is donated to a local soup kitchen.