Hundreds line up for free holiday meal in Red Hook
by Andrew Pavia
Nov 28, 2012 | 996 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
With many Red Hook residents affected by Hurricane Sandy just now getting power and heat back, celebrating Thanksgiving may not have been their main concern this year. However, members of the community lined up for free food on Wednesday, November 21, at the Miccio day care center at 595 Clinton Street.

Even so, two lines formed at the Miccio Day Care Center at 595 Clinton Street the Wednesday before the holiday. One line led to a hot Thanksgiving meal, while the other led to a box filled with stuffing, mashed potatoes and a turkey that could be prepared the next day.

In all, 300 boxes were distributed.

Many stores in Red Hook have not been able to reopen just yet, meaning that even if people had wanted to, they couldn’t buy their own Thanksgiving food.

Sharon, a Red Hook resident stood on line for her 85-year-old mother, who she said is “trying to make do,” unable to find a grocery store open in the neighborhood. On a fixed budget and trying to cleanup the mess that Sandy left, Sharon said that her mother doesn’t have many options.

Fairway Market, a specialty food retailer in Red Hook that will take months to recover from the damage done by Hurricane Sandy, sponsored the giveaway. The market donated enough food to feed more than 4,650 victims of Sandy, handing out meals on Staten Island and in Queens in addition to Red Hook.

"For those of us who have the means, the skills, and the expertise, it would be a waste not to utilize our resources for the benefit of those in need and at such a difficult time in their lives," said Jacqueline Donovan, co-founder of the organization Thankful to be Giving and vice president of marketing for Fairway.

Marcia Pristell said the free turkey was essential because she wouldn’t have celebrated the holiday had it not been for the giveaway.

Using a scooter to get around, Pristell said that it is difficult for her to walk and without electricity she had no way of leaving her 3rd floor apartment, which was without power for 13 days.

“I have a child with special needs,” she said, which caused her to venture out for a turkey so she had something to feed him.

As she worries about how to put her life back together and the welfare of her child, who has special needs, she said that a box filled with Thanksgiving food has become important to her because it’s one less thing she has to concern herself with.

“They’ve thought about everything,” she said, “even down to the macaroni and cheese. It is very significant for me.”

Holding a turkey in one hand and apple cider in the other, Pristell said, “I have good neighbors.”

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