The Middle Village Kiwanis Club hosted its ninth annual Thanksgiving drive, donating 150 turkeys with canned goods to families in need.
Prior to their distribution of the goods, the Kiwanis Club’s former President Al Gentile and Secretary Bianca Charon were joined by three Girl Scouts, Chiara Pullara, Alexia Gulino, and Liana Pullara, for the second year in a row to help set up the bags of canned good and other items such as stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes and vegetables on Thursday, Nov. 19.
Gentile told QNS they were pleasantly surprised by the amount of donations they received this year.
“This has been a good year, collection-wise, because I do think people that are not struggling as much were being more generous this time of the year,” said Gentile. “This is the time of the year when we get the most bang for our buck. We want to do the most we can for the community during this time. I thought it would’ve been less with COVID and everything else, but people really stepped up.”
But COVID-19 changed the way they distribute the food. Due to social distancing guidelines, they have partnered with local churches to minimize contact, instead of delivering the food to the homes of those in need themselves.
On Monday, Nov. 23, they arranged for their partners to pick up the donated food at the Cross County Savings Bank at 79-21 Metropolitan Ave., for families in need in the surrounding neighborhoods, including Middle Village, Maspeth, Glendale and Ridgewood.
Gentile thanked the Cross County Savings Bank and Maspeth Federal Savings Bank, as well as all the Kiwanis Club’s members for their generous donations.
He said they’ve helped about 3,000 families celebrate Thanksgiving in the years that the Kiwanis Club, an international service organization with local roots, has hosted the event.
“Every year it’s been unbelievable,” said Gentile. “The fact that people will be able to sit down — in a small group, obviously — with their families and enjoy the food, I think is great.”