The NYPD and former New York Knicks players teamed up to rebound against hunger this Thanksgiving.
Businessman John Catsimatidis and wife, Margo Catsimatidis, organized a Thanksgiving food giveaway on Nov. 17 outside St. John’s Baptist Church on 213 West 30th Street. Here men and women in blue joined retired basketball players John Wallce and Tom Hoover to hand out turkeys Wednesday.
“We can’t save the entire world, but if we can help a little bit. Every little bit helps. Every little bit counts,” said John Catsimatidis before the giveaway, “All of us are getting together to feed a few extra people.”
Starting off with a prayer, St. John the Baptist Pastor Fr. Francis Gasparik thanked all of those in attendance and for the abundance of gifts they were able to share with those in need that morning. Despite the brisk air, an extensive line of primarily senior New Yorkers gathered with empty carts in tow, ready to receive the bounty. Led by NYPD Inspector Carlos Ortiz, the Knicks legends filled the empty carriages. Those collecting the free holiday meals were overcome with gratitude.
“What better example than the NYPD, Mr. and Mrs. Catsimatidis, we have notable radio figures, sports celebrities all coming together with the community. We are getting back to normal! Getting back to recognizing that there are certainly people out here in need of our help,” Deputy Inspector Robert O’Hare said.
The turkeys were donated by supermarket chains Gristedes and D’Agostino’s. Throughout the holiday season, St. John’s will be providing food for over 100,000 local residents.
“It’s all about sharing and caring about our neighbors. We thank God for the opportunity to do this,” Pastor Gasparik said, kicking off the event.
Former New York Knicks players, Wallace and Hoover also expressed their gratitude.
“It’s an incredible opportunity to be here with everyone. Helping people during this time is everything,” Wallace said, sharing that he will also be joining the New York Knicks next week to host another giveaway, “It’s a tremendous blessing during these times to be able to give back. That’s what it is all about, putting smiles on people’s faces.”
“Giving back to the community is just what we do,” Hoover added.