Supermarkets contribute in Gov. Cuomo’s turkey giveaway

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Governor Andrew Cuomo was joined by elected officials and community leaders to distribute turkeys to residents of Brownsville. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

Hundreds of people lined up at a Brooklyn community center on Tuesday for free turkeys offered by the National Supermarket Association, the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s new Wegmans, and Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The governors office was partnering with Wegmans, the National Supermarket Association, Walmart and the Community Service Society of New York this Thanksgiving week to help deliver meals to feed more than 35,000 people statewide. Wegmans donated meals to feed 500 New York City residents and 1,800 state wide, while Walmart donated $50,000 towards the effort.

Governor Cuomo joined elected officials and community leaders Tuesday to give the turkeys to residents in New Prospect Plaza Community Center in Brownsville, where many residents lined up for their free turkey. He was joined by Rep. Yvette Clarke, State Senator Zellnore Myrie, Assemblywoman Annette Robinson, Assemblywoman Latrice Walker and community leader Una Clark as well as members of the Fort Hamilton Army base soldiers, who helped with the distribution.

Governor Andrew Cuomo was joined by elected officials, including Rep. Yvette Clarke (on his right) and other elected officials to distribute turkeys to residents of Brownsville. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

Residents were grateful for the help and said they welcomed the turkeys to offset their costs on the holidays.

Felipe Cruz, 76, showed up in a wheelchair, but was ready to do what he could to bring his turkey home with his helper, Auai Gonzalez.

“We thank God for it — you gotta thank God for everything we get,” he said adding, “I got three kids and I live in public housing, so I don’t get much. We are grateful to them for helping us this holiday.”

Elizabeth Brown, 72, said the turkey would help her family to have a better celebration.

“I have six children and 10 grandchildren and this turkey will go a long way to making a good Thanksgiving,” she said as Gov. Cuomo handed her a bag with a large turkey.

“Thanksgiving is an opportunity not just to reflect on our values of gratitude and service to others but also to act on those values,” Governor Cuomo said. “This partnership will provide thousands of families across the state with a warm meal to enjoy. I encourage every New Yorker to take time today to reflect and find a way that they can give back this week and throughout the holiday season.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo was joined by members of Ft. Hamilton Army Base to distribute turkeys. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

Even though most people were in the Thanksgiving spirit, a handful of people outside the giveaway held up signs protesting climate change and what they say is Governor Cuomo being too easy on fossil fuels.

“Climate change is greatest threat to humanity, so we need Gov. Cuomo to show real leadership and embrace a green new deal that stops reliance on dirty fossil fuels,” said Eric Weltman of Food and Water Action. “We need a rapid and just transition because there are safer alternatives to gas. There are no alternatives to clean air, clean water and safe climate.”

Gov. Cuomo said he could not comment on the protestors or any other topic and instead said, “Today, it’s about the turkeys.”

This year, New York State partnered with the Community Service Society of New York to distribute the turkeys and other foods statewide. The Community Service Society has worked for over 175 years to implement real solutions to help low-income New Yorkers find a path out of economic hardship.

In addition to the turkeys from Gov. Cuomo’s partnership, a grassroots group, the Million Dollar Family, brought in a wagon-load of food to give out to those who didn’t receive a turkey. Led by Rilla Milly, a musician an artist, the group distributed turkey’s and other foods to the needy.

“We saved our money so that we can give back to our community and to the less fortunate,” Milly said as they hauled the wagon into the community center. “We are not rich, but we will always try to do what we can do — just a little more we can do together.”

Rilla Milly distributed a wagon load of food to residents of Brownsville at the community center. (Photo by Todd Maisel)
Members of the Million Dollar Family, pooled their funds and bought food for needy residents. (Photo by Todd Maisel)
Soldier Roberto Wallace of Ft. Hamilton Army Base thanks Rilla Milly for bringing food for people to the event. (Photo by Todd Maisel)