FREEPORT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Families feasted a day early Wednesday with Marines in full uniform passing out turkey and toys.
Dozens of volunteers made it a special and unique time for Freeport families, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported.READ MORE: Firefighter Daniel Foley, Who Died After Battling 9/11-Related Illness, Honored Posthumously At FDNY Medal Day
The aroma created by chef volunteers coming out of the kitchen had grateful families oohing and ahhing.
“This is what we do as a community. We pull together on the holiday,” resident Lonnie Poindexter said. “We appreciate the company, the food and fun.”
Under-served children being embraced at the holiday seemed overwhelming.
“Turkey, cornbread, green beans,” one said.
“It makes us all happy,” another added.
“We have recently expanded, not only from Christmas but to Thanksgiving,” said Marine Toys for Tots Foundation vice chairman Sean Acosta Jr.
“It’s an honor to even be in a position to give back. As a Marine, to see somebody who’s is underprivileged and has the courage to come out and accept gifts, that means a lot to us,” Gunnery Sgt. John Sardine said.READ MORE: Sources: Ex-Boyfriend Guns Down Woman Working At Construction Site On City Island
Businesses along Freeport’s Nautical Mile, like the Waterside Grill, pitched in to help pay for the Thanksgiving feast, and volunteer merchants joined school teachers, members of churches and synagogues.
“We are happy to be able to be here to see the smile on the kids’ face because everybody needs warmth. So, we figured blankets would be the thing to do,” said Glenda Hills of Millennium Sistahs Inc.
“I have a roof over my head, I have food on my table. Not everybody has that,” volunteer Pamela Coleman added.
A Nassau County Police boat passed by as the Grenville family celebrated their meal, which was served by Commissioner Patrick Ryder.
“It’s good. I took the day off, I brought my family with me. My kids are here,” Ryder said.
Giving back. Making friends. Showing support.
“I’m thankful for people giving me stuff,” one little boy said.
No one wanted to leave this special turkey day.MORE NEWS: New Effort To Help Frontline Pandemic Medical Workers Process Their Grief
Toys for Tots is the nation’s largest holiday gift program for children.