Hundreds of families gifted full Thanksgiving meal at Bensonhurst giveaway

Hundreds of families were provided turkeys and all the trimming at Reaching Out Community Services’ annual Thanksgiving giveaway.
Photo by Arthur de Gaeta

Hundreds of families in need will have a hearty Thanksgiving meal, courtesy of Operation Gobble Giving — an annual turkey giveaway organized by Reaching Out Community Services. 

“Here at our event, we are providing turkey and all the trimmings for hundreds of families that are registered with our organization,” said Tom Neve, director of the southern Brooklyn homeless services organization, at the Nov. 22 giveaway.

Reaching Out Community Services hosts four annual events focused on fundraising to end the city’s hunger crisis, while also serving as a food pantry for local low-income families, and offering a suite of social services such as tax assistance and help filing for food stamps.

On Monday, stands lined the outside of Reaching Out’s New Utrecht Avenue headquarters in Bensonhurst dishing out turkeys, stuffing, potatoes, gravy and all the other fixings needed for a traditional Thanksgiving feast.

“What an incredible display of giving back for the holidays this year,” said area state Sen. Andrew Gounardes. “We have tons of volunteers out here to help give to our neighbors in need, everything for a whole Thanksgiving dinner, from turkey on, all the way down.”

This year, the Verrazano Rotary Club pitched in to provide 350 frozen turkeys. Those turkeys were paired with various other community donations, including from Investors Bank, which made it possible for Reaching Out to supply meals for the approximately 600 families who might have not otherwise celebrated the holiday.

“Because of the generosity of all these great sponsors, and the incredible work of Tom and his team, and all of the volunteers who are here,” Gounardes said. “We are going to make hundreds of families very happy this Thanksgiving when they sit down to have their holiday meal.” 

“It is an honor and a privilege to be out here to support Reaching Out Community Services,” said Brian Chin of Investors Bank, who is also a board member of Reaching Out Community Services and a member of the Rotary Club. “Any way to help fight hunger is always a good thing…and this is all part of the community coming together standing strong to fight hunger.”

The Rotary Club, another southern Brooklyn service organization, has partnered with Reaching Out Community Services on Operation Gobble Giving in some form for many years.

“Throughout the years, other than just providing turkeys and toys for the kids, [The Verazzano Rotary Club] also support this organization every month,” Neve said. “Thats the reason we are able to help hundreds and hundreds of families each month because of their effort to help our neighbors in need. Even during the pandemic, they were still there for us, and again this year, they are still making it happen.”

Gounardes encouraged all who can to donate to local nonprofits, such as Reaching Out Community Services — especially ahead of their 16th annual Operation Christmas Smiles Spectacular Event on Dec. 18, which provides toys to low-income kids in the community at a big Christmas party where they can meet Santa and other holiday characters. 

“This is a very tough time for many folks in our neighborhood, if you have the ability to give back in some way please do,” the pol said. “There are a lot of great groups in our community who can always use your assistance, and that help provide for those families in our neighborhood who just need a little bit of help.”