With Homes & Kitchens Ravaged, Volunteers Deliver Meals To Those In Need

BABYLON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Help for victims of Superstorm Sandy comes in different forms and on Wednesday it arrived in boxes filled with gourmet holiday meals.

Storm-soaked debris is still being cleared from streets in Babylon and the insides of homes are stripped bare.

With no kitchens, no dining rooms and no way to enjoy a holiday meal with family, the concept of “Thanksgiving In A Box” is now bringing some joy to storm-ravaged victims.

The idea is the brainchild of volunteers, who realized families with appliances ripped out and whose homes were destroyed, would have no way to cook for the holiday.

“Every one of them were on the giving end in the past. They’ve never been a taker,” volunteer Jeanine Cozzetti told CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff. “What this ‘Thanksgiving In A Box’ does is allows dignity to still be in place.”

Terri Pallas is among those receiving “Thanksgiving In A Box.” Her home is uninhabitable.

“I was supposed to host and I can’t do it. So at least I can bring something to the table, so I really appreciate it,” she said.

Seventy boxes of cooked Thanksgiving dinners arrived on Long Island, prepared by restaurant chefs from Connecticut, who worked through the night.

The national group “Family To Family” collected $125 per box for ingredients to feed 10 to 14 people. The boxes include items like turkey breast, corn bread and bean casserole.

“We didn’t slice the turkey because we really wanted to keep the tradition of Thanksgiving and how the family can carve the turkey together,” said Jeanette Vecchione-Donatti, owner of “Bistro 7.”

“It shows that there are people out there who are good,” said Jennifer Murray of Babylon. “We may be proud, but we need help.”

The idea is to give families a home-cooked meal they can enjoy, not in a generic setting, but in a home with family. Wherever they are spending the Thanksgiving holiday, it’s not quite “normal,” but it’s a start.

More than 200 boxes were distributed on Wednesday to families from Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island.

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