Amid a holiday season unlike any other in the last century, one North Brooklyn community organization is making sure their neighbors in need have somewhere to get a hot meal on Turkey Day.
The North Brooklyn Angels, in partnership with a bevy of other community groups, will bring 400 meals to those in need this Thanksgiving, the group announced last week. Organizers say the offerings will be a more elevated version of what the Angels usually offer, to allow for a “dignified Thanksgiving” during a challenging time.
“From the menu, and the way they are being hosted, and treated, and welcomed, ushered through the line, to the way their meal is packed out, it’s all done first quality,” said Paul Samulski, a board member of the North Brooklyn Angels. “We’re doing it one step better.”
The Angels expect to distribute the hundreds of meals through a combination of grab-and-go service out of the Brooklyn Expo Center in Greenpoint, and through deliveries to homebound seniors in Greenpoint, Williamsburg, and Bushwick. During the week leading up to Thanksgiving, the group plans on distributing 1,000 frozen turkeys to local families and over 1,000 meals at their regular food distribution sites across the neighborhood.
Due to changing pandemic-related mandates, the Angels pivoted just two weeks before Turkey Day from planing a socially distanced sit-down dinner at the expo center, to the grab-and-go plan instead.
“We realized there was just no way we could do this and be responsible,” said board member Tatiana Terzuoli.
Some other North Brooklyn organizations were forced to cancel their Thanksgiving initiatives due to the pandemic, and are combining their efforts with the Angels, giving them a volunteer team of over 45 people to help distribute food over the course of the holiday.
Guests who come to the expo center between 11 am and 1 pm on Thanksgiving will first go through a personal protective equipment checkpoint to make sure they are properly masked. They will then line up at one of the two pack-out lines where they will be able to see the meal they will receive being packed into a to-go box before taking it out the door in a paper takeout bag.
Though, the service won’t be the only thing that’s top notch about the give-back, according to Samulski.
“The food is not ‘hey, let’s just make up a meal of what we’ve got laying around,’” he said. “It’s actually prepared by chefs working in a kitchen outside the facility.”