NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — This Thanksgiving was very tough for thousands of families in our area.

Many are still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and had to rely on others to supply their holiday meals.

Some Far Rockaway residents that spoke with CBS 2’s Drew Levinson never dreamed they’d be eating their Thanksgiving meal inside a school gymnasium.

1010 WINS’ Gene Michaels Reports

Kevin Boyd was hoping for a family feast like last year.

Levinson: “You would’ve had a traditional Thanksgiving at home?”

Boyd: “Yes I would.”

Levinson: “But it’s a little different today.”

Boyd: “Yeah it is.”

Sandy turned their lives upside down, many just got power back, and are still dealing with wind and water damage.

The turkey and all the fixings were served up by local volunteers to more than 100 people, like Jahnya Barnette, who has no food at home.

“It’s ok. We are still giving thanks and we are just grateful to be alive, that’s all,” Barnette said.

“Since Sandy struck, so many people in the area have donated money, clothing and food. But perhaps just as important have been the messages of encouragement.

WCBS 880’s Monica Miller Reports

One example is called the Wall of Hope, where hundreds of letters adorn one side of the gym at the Challenge Preparatory Charter School. They were written by children from Ohio to children in the Rockaways.

wall of hope Volunteers Help Bring Thanksgiving Dinner To Far Rockaway Residents Grateful To Be Alive

Wall Of Hope filled with letters from Ohio school students to those in the Rockaways. (credit CBS 2)

Naomi Ligor, 12, read from one of her favorites.

“Everyone wants happiness, nobody wants pain, but you can’t have a rainbow without a little rain,” read Ligor.

Ligor said that letter is a message to everyone to just hang in there. And on this Thanksgiving, Rockaway residents planned to do more than just hang in, they planned to persevere.

The food at Thursday’s event was provided by Rockaway Plate Lunch.

Watch & Listen LIVE