The New York Food Truck Association teamed up with the Office of Emergency Management and the Department of Homeless Services this week to serve free Thanksgiving meals at homeless shelters in Brooklyn and Manhattan.
This community initiative follows the work the New York Food Truck Association did in partnership with the city to aid New York Hurricane Ida victims with free meals.
The group was inspired to continue to give back to the community, said Claire Kelly, marketing coordinator with the New York Food Truck Association. The association reached out to the Office of Emergency Management to find out what area and what shelters were in need of free meals.
“So often during the holidays everyone is trying to give back, and we wanted to make sure that the meals would be given to a place that was really in need,” Kelly said.
They ultimately decided to park a food truck outside of Bedford Atlantic Men’s Shelter in Brooklyn on Nov. 23 from 11 am to 1 pm, during which time they served 250 hot meals. On Nov. 24, the truck will be at 30th Street Men’s Shelter in Manhattan where 400 meals will be served from noon to 5 pm.
“It’s Thanksgiving, and this makes people happy,” said Eddie Goldstin, a member of the New York Food Truck Association, who is using his food trucks to help deliver the meals.
Eddie has been in the food truck industry for 11 years. He started out in the business serving ice cream from a Carvel ice cream truck. One of his regular customers worked for the New York Food Truck Association and recruited him to become a member of the association. Currently, Eddie has 28 Carvel ice cream trucks and five food trucks throughout the city.
At 6:25 am on Tuesday, Eddie and Joseph Goldstin, Eddie’s cousin who is also a member of the New York Food Truck Association, arrived at Empire BBQ food truck’s commissary to load food warmers onto the truck and fill black, plastic trays with turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, stuffing and cranberry sauce. Empire BBQ, who is also one of New York Food Truck Association members, prepared all of the food.
Two hours later, the truck pulled out of the lot and Joseph and Eddie drove to the Bedford Atlantic Men’s Shelter in Brooklyn and parked on the street.
Eddie stood outside of the food truck to hand the meals to passerbys. “Bring your friends,” he said as he handed out the food.
Joseph also helped pass food to people from the truck window.
“It’s good to try to help the community,” he said. “I’m glad to see people eat their meal. They’re hungry, it’s cold outside and some of them don’t have anyone to spend Thanksgiving with.”
Unlike many other Thanksgiving meal hand-outs throughout the city, the food truck brings meals to people instead of making people have to go to the meal, said Joseph, who has been in the food truck industry for six years.
“This was the goal, to help people. We wanted to give back in some way,” he said.
This is the first year the New York Food Truck Association has given out free Thanksgiving meals. In the past, the New York Food Truck Association has given meals to hospitals during the pandemic and wanted to find a way to continue to give to the community.
“Hopefully we will be doing it for many years to come,” Kelly said. “The New York Food Truck Association is hoping that this is just the beginning of a lot of ways that we can give back to the community.”
This story first appeared on amNewYork.