Koo gives out 240 free turkeys to district residents

Councilman Peter Koo (r.) and his chief of staff, James McClelland, load a van with turkeys to be distributed free-of-charge to Flushing senior centers. Photo by Connor Adams Sheets
By Connor Adams Sheets

As Flushing residents did their Thanksgiving shopping, City Councilman Peter Koo (R-Flushing) continued his holiday tradition of delivering free turkeys to senior centers throughout his district.

For a decade Koo delivered the complimentary poultry on his own and along with the Flushing Rotary Club.

Last year he held his first event in conjunction with the Western Beef supermarket last year — during which he provided 135 turkeys — but he one-upped himself this year, delivering 240 birds to some of his senior constituents.

Koo paid for some of the turkeys himself, as did the Flushing Chinese Business Association — following up on its contribution last year — and Amerigroup Community Care. Western Beef matched the 120 turkeys the others contributed with 120 more for free.

“Seniors — they’re a financially disadvantaged group. The holidays are very important because a lot of people feel they are being neglected, so this is a good time to show we care. Even a simple thing like a turkey can show our love,” Koo said.

FBCA President Peter Tu, Koo and several members of his staff gathered Tuesday morning in the parking lot of Western Beef at 44-44 College Point Blvd., where they received the turkeys from the store and loaded them into a van emblazoned with logos for Starside Drugs, Koo’s chain of local pharmacies.

Koo’s staffers delivered the turkeys to 13 senior centers and institutions representing a number of cultures and spread throughout Flushing, ranging from St. George’s Episcopal Church to the Taiwan Center, Korean Community Service and James Bland Community Center senior centers.

Bland Houses resident Ralph Johnson, 67, was reading the newspaper in the Bland senior center Tuesday morning when the turkeys arrived. He said the turkeys are a great help to his fellow residents, adding that he is in fine financial shape but he may take one this year because of the convenience.

“I usually refuse because I shop in advance, but I haven’t done any shopping yet this year, so I might take one,” he said. “The people who do receive them greatly appreciate it.”

Francy Zamora, a city Housing Authority community coordinator for Queens Community Operations who was working at the center Tuesday morning, seconded Johnson’s sentiment.

“It’s going to help them celebrate their Thanksgiving dinner. They’re going to be very happy,” she said. “It’s very helpful for them. They’ve been asking for the turkeys.”

Ralph Sabatini, supervisor of the College Point Boulevard Western Beef location’s meat department, said it is the company’s pleasure to help the community through the initiative.

“We like to give them out. We’re happy to do it,” he said.

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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