Thanksgiving Basket Brigade donating holiday dinners to Williamsburg families in need

Donations can be left in a designated box in the building’s coffee lounge.

Last year the goal was five families; now it’s 10. Tenants of 34 Berry St. in Williamsburg are collecting food donations for their second annual Thanksgiving Basket Brigade.

Melissa Echeverri, the leasing consultant for the building, commonly called 34Berry, introduced the idea to residents last year.

“I’ve been doing this for about the last 12 years,” Echeverri said. “But last year was when I started it here because I thought we have our own community within the building, and it’s a great way to give back to those outside of the building communities.”

For the inaugural donation drive, Echeverri said she reached out to the Stockholm Shelter to see if any families had access to kitchens. She was given a list of five families that helped the group set the goal of collecting enough donations for five Thanksgiving baskets.

“We ended up raising a little over five baskets, but all of the families were incredibly happy and grateful,” said Echeverri. “This year, we decided to change it up a bit and work with a local high school, where we were given a list of 10 families who could benefit from this.”

Echeverri said 34Berry has done fundraisers with Northside Charter High School before, so it made sense to want to help local families during the holidays as well.

"We’re more than happy to help them out," she added.

Residents of 34Berry previously helped raise funds for the students by throwing a casino night. All of the proceeds went to the school.

“Not only did the residents get to engage with one another, they made a difference by donating financially,” said Echeverri. “And now they’re donating so these families [can] eat this year.”

The baskets feature a turkey and all of the popular Thanksgiving fixings, including a box of stuffing, a can each of corn and green beans, yams, potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy, sweet potato pie, instant hot cocoa, marshmallows, brownie mix, tangerines, sparkling cider and juice.

The group is hoping neighbors — inside and outside the complex — will help fill the baskets with all of the mouthwatering items on the list.

"Whether you’re a resident, a friend or family member — anyone [can] donate," Echeverri said. "One small can of food could make a huge difference for families."

Donations can be left in a designated box located in the coffee lounge inside the apartment complex. The basket assembly and delivery will take place Sunday at 11 a.m.

Kayla Simas