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Food insecurity heightens distribution of turkey and other foods for Thanksgiving in New York City

Thanksgiving turkeys are ready to be handed out at Senator Roxanne Persaud's distribution. From left, Glen Hatcher of the Carpenters Union, Captain Carlies, 69th Precinct, Senator Roxanne Persaud, Jennifer John and Robert Oliver, director of recruitment in the office of St. Francis College.
Photo by Tangerine Clarke/Caribbean Life

By Tangerine Clarke

Heightened food insecurity due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has put a strain on families in New York, and called legislators into action to increase Thanksgiving turkey distribution, that began on Nov. 19 outside the district office of Senator Persaud, who represents the 19th Senatorial District in Brooklyn.

Persaud handed out more than 250 Thanksgiving turkeys, donated by Kings Plaza, but apologized for not having enough to feed the thousands of constituents in her district, many who stood on a ticketed system line, during the hours-long distribution. However, she assured that overall the district would have handed out 1000, when it was all said and done, since she handed out certificates to those who did not get the game bird accepted other donations, before Thanksgiving Thursday.

The elected official partnered with ACS, the Lions Club, St. Francis College, Captain Carlies and NYPD officers of the 69th Precinct, the Carpenters Union, among others, to fill the needs of constituents. Shut-in senior citizens were serviced with hamper deliveries.

Residents join a ticketed system line to receive a Thanksgiving turkey at Senator Roxanne Persaud’s giveaway. (Photo by Tangerine Clarke)

“Have safe and happy Thanksgiving, please make sure you are observing all of the protocols in place to protect all of us,” Persaud said, adding, that for the past nine months her office has being handing out food hampers every Thursday, due to food insecurity, not only in her district, but across the city and state. She promised that whenever possible, “we will do whatever we can to assist the community.”

She thanked Assemblymember Jamie Williams, Councilmember Alan Maisel, and other elected officials for the partnership, adding that she had reached out to the Supermarkets Association to ensure everyone benefits from the Thanksgiving distribution.

Rob Oliva, director of recruitment in the office of St. Francis College, said he was excited to join in giving back to the community, since it is the institution’s commitment to make a difference in the lives of others.

The day of giving, continued with elected officials at Plaza Auto Mall on Nostrand Avenue, where turkeys, face masks and hand sanitizers were handed out, thanks to Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte and Councilmember Farah Louis’s “Harvest Season Turkey” distribution, in collaboration with the business owners.

Councilmember Robert Carnegie said, “we are blessed to be partnering with Plaza Auto Mall,” noting that food insecurity at its highest in a progressive society is troubling, and blamed the coronavirus pandemic that he said “has exacerbated food insecurity, which is why we have to do this distribution. We would like to thank Plaza Auto Mall and the Jewish community for their contribution.”

Councilmember Matthew Eugene, who has thrown his hat into the ring for Brooklyn Borough president, praised elected officials and the business owners for coming together in unity.

“It a very difficult for everyone, so we have to come together. We thank Plaza Mall having this distribution every year and for giving a helping hand, so everyone can have a turkey,” he said.

The politician who has served 14 years in government, called on Brooklyn residents to unify in order to make the borough a better place for all to live.

His counterpart, Assemblymember Bichotte, said she was excited to be partnering with elected officials and Plaza Auto Mall and applauded the turkey distribution.

“This is the time to give out turkeys to make sure families are fed and they have a good meal, especially with the uptick of the coronavirus.

Pictured at Plaza Auto Mall’s annual Thanksgiving turkey distribution. Back row: Councilmember Robert Carnegie, Masbia Soup Kitchen representative, Plaza Auto Mall representative, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, Assembly Member, Rodneyse Bichotte, Jennifer John, Masbia, Sen. Kevin Parker, Councilmember Matthew Eugene, among others. (Photo by Tangerine Clarke)

“Families are forced to stay home, so we want to make sure they are warm during Thanksgiving. It looks very festive here today, as we make good use of the sidewalk,” she said, alluding to social distancing, 6ft apart protocol.

“I would like to thank our sponsors and councilmembers for working to put this event together. Food insecurity is something I personally know all about. As a child, my household relied on the help of others to survive,” said District Attorney Eric Gonzales.

“People are suffering, so these events are critical, so that they can celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. This is important to our community. I encourage everyone to celebrate safely,” he said.

Senator Parker, who recently announced his candidacy for New York city comptroller, to bring leadership to the office, in order to end the pandemic, said the elected officials. He pledged to serve the entire community to make sure people have enough food to eat, and thanked Plaza Auto Mall for their donation.

“The Jewish community has dietary needs so we have to make sure we have kosher products available to them, in addition to traditional turkeys, we did a lot of that today.”

“ The next couple of day, many of us will be handing out turkeys together to make sure our communities are fed during this holiday season, but we still want to protect people from living room spread of the coronavirus. If you have to get together, make your group as small as possible,” said the politician who shared that his family will get together via a video dinner, instead.

“We are on the precipice of being over this pandemic once we get a few more vaccines,” he said, noting that it may be another year before “we are hopefully, in a position to say that the pandemic is under control, and we have some kind of further immunity because of the vaccines and the number of people that have it.”

“In the meantime, we need to be faithful, be discipline, and look after everyone and ourselves regarding our health.”

This story first appeared on our sister publication caribbeanlifenews.com.

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