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Five families got an early start to a happy Thanksgiving, as turkeys complete with trimmings made their way to their front doors.
Courtesy of the newly-formed Middle Village Kiwanis Club, 30 turkeys were collected and distributed to local churches, two homes in Ridgewood and three in Middle Village on Tuesday, November 22.

“It was overwhelming and over-joyous for the families and even for myself. They were very grateful,” said Al Gentile, treasurer of Middle Village Kiwanis and chairperson of the club’s food drive committee. “We began to talk about everything under the sun — their trials and tribulations that are going on right now. They were very appreciative to get this help.”

Gentile said some of the families even tried to convince the Kiwanis Club to give the help to more needy people instead of them.
“It was just an unbelievable story. These are cancer victims, some of them are unemployed. It was very rewarding to know that they were going to get the baskets,” he said.

According to Middle Village Kiwanis boardmember J.P. Di Troia, the bulk of the birds will go toward Sacred Heart Parish’s food pantry, while others will be donated to Our Lady of Hope Parish, St. Matthias Parish and other local food drives.

“We’re Kiwanis. That’s what we’re about. We help the community and we help families — anybody in need. We’re ecstatic,” said his wife, Tina Di Troia, the first Middle Village Kiwanis president and longtime member of several Kiwanis’ in the surrounding neighborhoods.

The brand new group — which will be officially installed and chartered on December 7 — already is 29 members strong, and the numbers will only be growing, officials said.

“We’re finding that everyone is looking for us to join, to help us and to do more for the community, especially the children,” Tina said.
Middle Village Kiwanis members personally delivered the turkeys — and a basket of stuffing, cranberry sauce, canned vegetables and pudding — to the doors of families and local churches.

“It’s very exciting for all of us involved,” J.P. said.

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