NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Thousands of homeless and hungry New Yorkers will have a place to celebrate this Thanksgiving as the Bowery Mission takes them in for their 140th holiday dinner.
A line stretched around the corner as thousands braved the cold, all for a hot meal.
“We have cut over 625 turkeys, about 7,000 pounds of potatoes, a lot of bread for stuffing, gravy. We wouldn’t be able to get this done without the help we get,” said Raffaele Depalma-Executive Chef, Bowery Mission.
It’s all hands on deck for the 500 volunteers at the Bowery Mission who have been prepping the Thanksgiving meal every day for the last week.
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Bob Benfield came all the way from North Carolina to give back, helping to serve meals every hour on the hour from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“It’s a ministry. There’s people that just need food, but you got to feed them physically before you can try to feed them spiritually. That’s the whole purpose of the Bowery Mission,” he told CBS2’s Charlie Cooper.
Thanksgiving Day is the Mission’s biggest day of the year. Volunteers will be serving 7,000 meals on this day alone.
Adults and kids lined up with plates in hand, ready to deliver them table by table.
“It doesn’t matter what age you are, even if you’re a kid, you can still go to a homeless shelter and help people out,” volunteer Dylan Frank said.
“My favorite thing is to just see their faces, so happy,” volunteer Remy Komarnicki said.
“I’m most grateful for us helping people in need,” volunteer Miles Frank said.
Guests were excited to see Michael Bloomberg stop in to wish them well and pass out bags of socks, winter hats, gloves and hygiene products.
“I am homeless, so I come here. Go to the shelter to live so I can take my shower, change my clothes and everything, so it’s good,” one guest said.
“As long as there are people who are in need, there needs to be more of these types of soup kitchens and more compassionate staff that can minister to the needs of those that are broken in spirit and in mind,” one man said.
“Even though this is the day when you’re supposed to be with your family, you can actually make family anywhere you go,” another man said. “I am mostly excited that I’ve got people that’s in my corner.”
“If you’re less fortunate, you can always know that there’s always people there to help you out,” Miles Frank said.
“It’s an honor to do it with my family and friends to come and help people,” Komarnicki said.
The Bowery Mission will also distribute food to 25 local organizations in all five boroughs and in New Jersey.