PEEKSKILL, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Due to the coronavirus pandemic, putting food on the table for a Thanksgiving feast is going to be a tall task for many families.

That’s why nonprofits are starting to disperse food donations now, and, as CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reported Thursday, it’s only the beginning.

Fresh produce, meat and fruit are flying off the shelves of Feeding Westchester’s Mobile Food Pantry. The truck used to stop twice a month in Peekskill. Due to demand doubling, it’s here every week. Milton Piper of Yorktown picks up items for himself and his neighbors, who recently lost their retail jobs.

“We had a lot of stores that closed up,” Piper said. “They cut their hours tremendously, so this comes in very handy for them.”

LINK: Food Bank of the Hudson Valley

But to have a proper Thanksgiving, “We know that once a week is not going to do it,” said Tuesday McDonald of the City of Peekskill.

That’s why next week, “We’re going to start giving out turkeys at different distributions in addition to complimentary items — stuffing, cranberry sauce,” said Peter Pozo, manager of the Mobile Food Pantry program.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Already Wednesday, 500 turkeys from the Stop&Shop on Route 300 in Newburgh were loaded on to a truck to the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley. There’s a 53% increase in people needing assistance compared to last year.

“It’s pervasive. It’s affecting everyone across the entire six counties and it’s lasting a very long time. So we look at this more like a marathon rather than a sprint,” said Molly Nicol of the Food Bank of Hudson Valley.

MORE: Cardinal Dolan Offers Prayers, Praise As Catholic Charities Hits 1 Million Donated Meals Since Start Of COVID-19 Outbreak

And 6,000 pounds of groceries are ready to go from Goya’s Jersey City headquarters to the nonprofit oasis in Paterson on Friday to help thousands of low-income women and children.

“I know we have to stay separate because of COVID, but certainly we don’t want food to separate. We want food to bring us together,” McDonald said.

“Whatever little bit that you do get be thankful for and we don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving Day at all,” Milton added.

Milton said if he has to, he and his neighbors will even be thankful for chicken if they can’t get a turkey. But all the nonprofits are working together to make sure no one has to be deprived of the holiday perks.

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