They helped those in need of a warm feed.
Members of a local civic group spent their Sunday collecting car loads of donated Thanksgiving food items during their annual pre-holiday food drive.
Volunteers with the Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association filled four four-wheelers with non-perishable nosh, much of which shoppers donated that day during the do-gooders’ collection outside a Gerritsen Beach Key Food grocery store, according to the association’s president, who said the group combined that haul with other items locals dropped in boxes it set up outside other area grocers earlier this month, which it will continue to grab grub from through Nov. 15.
“In the four hours that we spent in front of Key Food, we collected as much we do leaving out the boxes at the stores in a week,” said Ed Jaworski, who has been spearheading the annual collection since it started some ten years ago.
And one shopper who came out to fill her pantry saved some significant space in her cart for the less fortunate, Jaworski said.
“There was this one woman who came out with a full shopping cart, and half of it was for us,” he said, adding that some boxes were so stuffed after an hour of collecting that he had to drive the goods home to make more space.
The civic association also took cash donations, which it will use to buy items such as turkeys, ham, and potatoes — but also chickens, because many of the people in need don’t have big enough ovens to fit the holidays’s staple bird, according to Jaworski.
“We’ll probably collect at least $500, which we buy turkeys and chicken with,” he said.
The group donates all of its goods to Our Lady of Refuge Church on Foster and Ocean avenues, which distributes the grub via its food bank, the lines for which during the holidays Jaworski described as a sobering sight.
“When you see all the people lined up, it’s sad to know that there’s that kind of food shortage, even in residential neighborhoods of Brooklyn,” he said.
One member of the civic group who stood outside the store asking passing customers to buy an extra can of food for the drive said she appreciated the opportunity to bring joy to her community’s neediest.
“Giving the food to people that really need it just makes them so happy,” said Elizabeth Morrissey.
And another do-gooder from Marine Park who dropped off a large can of tomato sauce on her way out of Key Foods said that the group’s efforts make all the difference to those who can’t afford to put a full Thanksgiving feast on their tables themselves.
“I think it’s a very helpful and generous thing to be doing,” said Maria, who declined to give her last name.
And the annual drive doesn’t only raise the amount of food available to those in need — it also raises awareness about the sheer number of locals who are down on their luck during the holiday season, according to Jaworski.
“It shows that people are aware of those in need of food and that they are very generous,” he said.
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