Last year Carmen Rodriguez spent part of Thanksgiving Day in a large dining room they made in the organization The Hunts Point Community Partnership, in The Bronx, where a group of volunteers welcomed more than 100 families of that county, which did not have the resources to afford a special dinner.
As the Puerto Rican recalls, in that celebration there was a lot of joy and union on the part of the neighbors who came with their children to the community center to eat turkey, pastries, stuffing, rice with gandules and the inevitable pumpkin dessert, which she herself prepared the night before to close the celebration with a flourish.
This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which in recent days has threatened to bring a second wave due to the increase in infections in different corners of New York, things were different … different, but not even “the coronavirus monster“I can prevent the date from being celebrated in the Big Apple.
This is what the Puerto Rican woman declares with a huge smile and positive attitude, after commenting that together with dozens of volunteers they gave themselves the task of distributing in the Thanksgiving Day food to those who have nothing to prepare.
“We cannot let the date go by like nothing without helping. It is very important to do so, because many families have lost their jobs, many people had businesses and have lost them due to the pandemic, many families have children and are without resources. They have no way of giving them Thanksgiving dinner, and what we want to do is give them a reason to smile, “said the young mother, warning that even in the days before ‘Thanksgiving’, Turkeys and other ingredients were distributed for families to prepare their dinners.
“We know that we cannot spend time together this time, nor eating all of them as before, but at least with that turkey we are teaching our children that no matter how bad the situation looks, there is always, always somewhere there is something or someone who is going to help, ”said the Bronx resident.
“The Thanksgiving My family knows that I leave very early to distribute turkey and bags of food for those who need it, and then my husband goes to cook. He is a very good cook. Always while I work, he is the one who cooks and that day I arrive in the afternoon to sit down for dinner alone with my two children and him, because this time you cannot be with the whole family ”, said the proud volunteer.
Carmen also made a call for all New Yorkers not to forget the elderly who will spend it “alone” and asked that the neighbors be vigilant and on that special date be sure to share some of your banquets with them.
They help those who are having a very bad time
Elena Gutierrez She has the same sentiment and although she was not directly involved with any organization, she bought several ingredients and received a couple of donated turkeys to prepare food, which she took to some friends she has known for years and who she assures are having a very bad time.
“I am not rich by any means, but at least I have my health, no one has died of COVID, first God, and I have my little job cleaning, so I feel that I can do my bit and help others people can have their Thanksgiving dinner “, said the Mexican resident in Corona, in Queens, with great tenderness, who together with his sister cooked a mixed menu. “We make the turkey, but with a different filling, because the one they make here, which is very dry, we don’t like. And we also make colored jellies, pozole and tamales to take to our neighbors, especially to various old men we know who have nothing or anyone ”.
And although the immigrant admits that there is very little to celebrate this 2020, especially in a neighborhood like yours, where hundreds of neighbors died from the impact of the COVID-19, warns that you have to put your chest to adversity and bring out the best face.
“It was very ugly all this year and maybe it’s going to get ugly again with the infections rising, but I think we have to give thanks on this day for the people next to us, for our family, because we are healthy and because we will be better, with the help of diocito and La Morenita (La Guadalupana)“Adds the Mexican.
Good Hearts Battalion
In Queens, the Jackson Heights organization, ‘Together We Can’, he also wanted to be part of the battalion of good hearts.
Shannon getzel, founder and director of the community group, said that with the help of Macy’s who contributed various donations, they were able to deliver more than 200 turkeys to low-income neighborhood members, as well as rice and other types of food so they could have their dinner.
“It is a hard time, but we want to show our families that they are not alone, that we are supporting them and that in the midst of this difficult situation, an act such as cooking together, as a family and having the children who are already out of school It is reason to be grateful ”, said the community leader. “We know that it is not easy and we understand how overwhelming all this is happening, but at the end of the day we have to try to help each other and keep fighting for our families“.
Getzel He added that in addition to the distribution of food, the associated social workers will be looking with a magnifying glass that people need special help to connect them with resources and means so that they can provide them with food directly.
The community activist Amanda Seventh, who in January will assume her seat as State Assemblywoman, as well as Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz and Senator Jessica Ramos, were delivering food supplies to their neighbors.
“2020 has been too difficult a year, families, homes, jobs have been lost and there is a lot of pain among our people, but we want to try to make things better and find some sense of normalcy in the midst of all this abnormal and that is why we wanted to give people things so they can have their dinner, “said the Dominican, who on Thanksgiving Day was serving as a volunteer at the St. Matthew’s Parish Church, Ft. Motte from East 146th Street and Willis Avenue, in the Bronx.
“There we will be making soup and turkey that we will give to anyone who needs it, because due to the situation we will not be able to make the gigantic kitchen that they did before, but it will be a way to show people that they are not alone and that we have reasons to thank ”Said Seventh, adding that He hopes that in 2021 Thanksgiving dinner will include in the list of mentions, the end of the pandemic.