NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Many of the city’s needy will have a hot meal this Thanksgiving, thanks to the inmates at Rikers.

The big ovens at the Riker’s Island Correctional Facility are working overtime, while inmates are preparing meals for the homeless and needy.

“I’m thinking about, I could’ve been with my family but doing this, I feel a little bit better, you know I’m giving out to the homeless, the unfortunate,” Christan Gonzalez, an inmate, said.” I mean, think about it: what if you we were in their shoes?”

The Church of the Intercession, of Washington Heights, is expecting to receive thirty turkeys from Rikers before Thursday’s holiday — which provides about one hundred meals, CBS2’s Lou Young reported.

“I think it’s great that people who have had trouble in society, who’ve been taken out of society, are hooking back up with society by giving back,” Rev. Rhonda Rubinson said.

The men are taught by Sean Ahern, a professional chef who believes in the program.

“I think anyone who has a positive experience in life, that that adds to the bucket and it could help them,” Ahern said.

The turkeys were donated by the Osborne Association, a nonprofit which provides resouces and programs for current or formerly incarcerated men and women. The program at Rikers is funded by the city.

“It’s the experience of doing something positive,” Valarie Lengshin, the director of the Rikers program, said. “And hopefully when they get released that experience will enable them to make better decisions themselves.”


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