NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Helping others was on the minds of many this holiday.
So instead of shopping, they served meals.
Devon Kameko Gonzalez took time to give.
“I’d rather be here than out in the streets with the swarms of people shopping around,” she told CBS2’s Lisa Rozner.
She and her mom served swarms of people at the Food Bank for New York City on West 116th Street in Harlem. The organization dubbed it “Orange Friday” to raise awareness about hunger.
Many charities beef up to serve on the holiday, but take a break the day after.
“The day after Thanksgiving is one of the hardest days for families in need to find food in our city,” Vice President Camesha Grant said.
The nonprofit says one in five New Yorkers rely on soup kitchens and the highest need is in Harlem.
“What we know for sure is that hunger doesn’t take a holiday,” said Grant.
Client James Harris said he usually doesn’t get a fresh cooked meal on this day.
“Once we knew last week that this place would be open, come straight here,” he said.
The organization served fresh turkey pot pie, baked biscuits and sweet potato pie.
“Hopefully everybody ate like we ate, especially the children,” said Harris.
After getting a warm meal, clients were able to go to a pantry downstairs and pick up meals for their families.
Harris, a senior citizen, relies on it. He’s raising two grandchildren alone.
“I am always here,” he said, adding it’s like a second family to him.
Gonzalez and her mom said they hope to become part of that family.
“Hopefully I’ll be back here soon and get to know the people a little bit better,” she said.
She said it’s a feeling that means more than any trip to the mall ever could buy this Black Friday.
This is the third year the kitchen has been open on the holiday. Organizers say they need hundreds of volunteers each week.