NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The spirit of giving could be found all across New York City on Thursday. Volunteers prepared and served up delicious Thanksgiving meals to thousands of New Yorkers, especially the ones most in need.

THANKSGIVING TRADITION CONTINUES IN MANHATTAN

One of the biggest free Thanksgiving lunches in New York carved up more than 125 turkeys for guests this year.

Plates served at the Goddard Riverside Community Center went to people on the Upper West Side who have – over the years – become a second family.

“It’s like a tradition, yes. It’s like the best one in the city. I don’t know anything that’s like this, that’s this big,” Myron Gold told CBS2’s Clark Fouraker.

“The community… everyone comes together and we give thanks and it’s so warm and beautiful in here,” Glen Ward added.

To make this meal happen, about 300 volunteers arrived at six in the morning.

Why so early? Because every item on the plates starts as raw ingredients, made from scratch.

“The key is to try and get the whole skin off in one piece as you can so it looks like a little turkey coat. When we’re done, we put the turkey skin over the turkey like this, so when it goes back to the oven it keeps it moist,” volunteer Patsy Yang said.

Yang has volunteered at the lunch for the past six years. Thursday morning starts with rows of carrot cutters and lemon squeezers; preparing more than 1,500 meals.

“They leave with dessert and seconds if they want. You don’t go hungry around here, especially on Thanksgiving,” volunteer John Delvecchio said.

The volunteers boxed more than 500 of the meals to deliver to families not able to leave their homes.

“I didn’t want to cook this year. I didn’t want the burden of cooking, but I also wanted to help out. My daughter, this was her first opportunity at community service,” Alyna Brown explained.

STUDENTS GIVE BACK IN BROOKLYN

Dozens of students in Brooklyn found themselves at a local catholic school this Thanksgiving, spending the holiday helping those in need.

Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy hosted its third Thanksgiving meal for the homeless in the school’s cafeteria.

“These are just like little things you can do and appreciate that will not only change your life but someone else’s life,” student Victoria Bruno said.

“I think it’s really great for our community. We are the future and I think we are helping now, at such a young age is really great,” seventh-grader Joseph Kinsella said.

“Everyone should be in the community and help one another,” eighth-grader Frankie Kopylov added.

The community donated all the food, which was prepared by either parents or other volunteers. It’s the students that are doing all the heavy lifting, serving about 100 homeless people as much food as they can eat.