Stop & Shop kicks off Thanksgiving Turkey Tour in Harlem

Stop and Shop volunteers handed out 500 birds to Harlem residents Monday afternoon. ( Photo by Alejandra O'Connell-Domenech)

Stop & Shop gave out 500 turkeys and 200 chickens on Monday.

Stop & Shop kicked off their annual five-borough Turkey Tour by handing out 500 turkeys and 200 chickens to families in Harlem Monday afternoon.

Since 2001, the grocery store chain has donated thousands of frozen turkeys, chickens and fresh fruits and vegetables to food banks around the city to give food insecure New Yorkers a meal for Thanksgiving. This year, turkey-filled Stop and Shop trucks will drop off 1,500 additional birds and ingredients for side dishes at four other locations.

Those in need can pick up the poultry at 2 p.m. on Wednesday at M.S. 22 Jordan L. Mott, at 10 a.m. at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn and at 9 a.m. at the Legacy Center Community Development Corporation in Queens and Project Hospitality on Staten Island this Friday, Nov. 22.

Food Bank workers move boxes of frozen turkeys to the pantry on West 116th Street in Harlem Monday Nov. 18. ( Photo by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech/amNewYork)

Every day, over 500 meals are served at the Food Bank’s Community Kitchen and Pantry in Harlem, with a large portion of those meals going to children, the elderly who live alone, and veterans. Another large group taking taking stopping to food are the working poor.

“We see families come in with briefcases, coming from work getting right off of the subway and sitting down and eating a meal with us,” said Dr. Camesha Grant, Vice President of community connections and reach at Food Bank for New York City.

She added that many visitors use the pantry because most of their earnings go towards paying for rent or they do not have the physical space to prepare meals. Many who use the pantry, live in three-quarter housing, where four or five families will share one apartment and not necessarily have access to a kitchen.

According to Grant, one in five families in the city depends on a food bank or pantry for emergency food during the year. According to data from New York City Food Bank, almost 1.2 million New Yorkers, or 14.4 percent of the city’s population, are food insecure.

Kelly Bensimone, of the Real Housewives of New York fame, helped hand out turkeys and chickens to Harlem residents at the Food Bank for New York City’s Community Kitchen and Pantry on West 116th Street on Monday afternoon. (Photo by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech/amNewYork).

Alejandra O'Connell-Domenech