Food

Residents find Thanksgiving turkeys aplenty at Father Gigante Plaza

Frida Sterenberg

Residents line up for turkeys at Father Gigante Plaza in Longwood on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

Hunts Point businesses joined Community Board 2 to ensure that residents in need wouldn’t go without a turkey on Thanksgiving Day.

Last Friday evening before the traditional holiday, residents gathered at Father Gigante Plaza in front of St. Athanasius Church on Fox Street with tickets in hand, as the Stagg Group, a development company with several buildings in the area, handed out 200 turkeys to residents. Board 2 chairman Roberto Crespo greeted residents. “We have reached out to companies in our community and asked them to help, and whatever they are giving, we appreciate,” he said. 

Millie Colón, 63, came with her two grandchildren, Riley and Maddy, to pick-up a bird. She planned to prepare a turkey dinner for her extended family of 16, including her children and grandchildren, in addition to a few people with no place to go. “I feed the homeless. I leave the door open and give food to people in need,” she said. 

Board 2 gave out the tickets residents could use to get their turkey. Those without one had to patiently wait until 6 p.m. to get any unclaimed birds. By 4:45, there were around 40 turkeys left and roughly the same number of people lining up.

America Avila, 65, sat on the garden’s wall while waiting in line. With her shopping cart close by, she was concerned that there would be no turkey left for her. “Without the turkey, there’s no dinner,” she said in Spanish. Avila lives in Hunts Point and plans to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner for her eight children and many more grandchildren.

Frida Sterenberg

A brother and sister nabbed a turkey for their family’s Thanksgiving dinner.

Ana Delone, 71, also speaking in Spanish, said that if she could get a bird, she would make a lasagna with a mix of turkey and chicken, “moro de guandules” (a Dominican speciality of rice and pigeon beans) and a green salad. “That’s good enough,” she said. She plans to share the dinner with her two children, daughters-in-law and four grandchildren. 

City Councilmember Rafael Salamanca Jr. came to greet constituents, adding that his office has donated 1,200 turkeys to senior centers. “My job as an elected official is to serve my community and give back, and this is just a microcosmic way to give back and let them celebrate with their families.”

For residents who do not have a place to cook or cannot afford to cook, Roberto Crespo reminded all that Pastor Reggie of the Real Life Church will offer free meals during the 9th Annual Thanksgiving Day Celebration, at The Point CDC, 940 Garrison Avenue.

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