As a hunger crisis continues amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens has distributed a total of 3,103 turkeys to families for Thanksgiving.
The first Catholic Charities distribution of turkeys took place on Nov. 16 in Brooklyn at St. Francis Assisi and St. Blaise Parish. In Queens, the organization held distribution events on Nov. 18 at The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Jamaica and Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Corona.
Catholic Charities distributed the frozen turkeys at two pop-up food pantries and three turkey distributions to date. The organization also provided $100,000 food vouchers in increments of $50 for turkey dinner fixings so struggling families can have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
“For us, it’s a way of showing that we stand with the people at this particular time of the year,” said Reverend Monsignor Alfred LoPinto, president and chief executive officer of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens and Affiliated Agencies.
Continuing an over six-year tradition of donating turkeys in honor of their parents, Al and Maria Catanese donated 700 turkeys this year. EJ Electric, the New York City District Council of Carpenters, Local 638 Steamfitters Union, and Univision also donated frozen turkeys.
Tickets for participation by individuals in need were distributed on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 8 a.m. the morning of each event. Those in attendance wore a mask, practiced social distancing and brought a shopping cart for the food distribution.
In an agency-wide effort to reach communities with low vaccine rates, COVID-19 and flu vaccines were also available. Since January 2021, Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens has facilitated over 1,850 COVID-19 vaccines to individuals in the communities it serves.