New York, NY—The Upper East Side nonprofit Isaacs Center usually distributes around 100 turkeys at this time of year, but thanks to the hard work of local elected officials and the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo, the center will be distributing over 400 turkeys to residents and families in public housing.
In previous years, the center would host seniors and families to share a Thanksgiving dinner, but that is obviously not possible this year. So, instead, the center is trying to recreate as good as it can a feeling of connection among the community during this difficult time.
“What we want to do is make this year feel somewhat similar because everything has felt not the same, so we want to make this feel somewhat similar. So, we can’t bring people in, but we’re doing everything we can to do everything we always did to make people feel connected, so that means turkey deliveries are in order,” Greg Morris, Isaacs Center’s executive director, said.
Between Tuesday and Wednesday, about 411 turkeys will be delivered to residents of the Isaacs Houses and Holmes Towers in Yorkville and the Taft Senior Center in East Harlem.
“These communities are really struggling for a variety of reasons, but they are resilient, they’re powerful, they’re capable, we just want to make them feel special,” Morris said.
As busy as the center was on Tuesday, with volunteers beginning the delivery of frozen turkeys to residents, Morris noted that on Thanksgiving Day there would be even more activity.
“It looks busy now, but on Thanksgiving Day this will ramp up. We’ll have over 200 volunteers scheduled to be with us on Thanksgiving Day, and they are going to help to deliver home-delivered meals to those who need it.”
A few of the elected officials who were instrumental in securing the additional turkeys this year pitched in to deliver the holiday food.
Assemblyman Dan Quart (D) said he was honored to be sharing the effort with his colleagues in government and the Isaacs Center.
“I’ve interacted with the leadership here for the better part of 20 years, the great work that they do, especially now where communities are afraid as they are, isolated—the opportunity to have a turkey for Thanksgiving may mean a little more this year than it has in any year in the past.”
Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) said that one of the best aspects about his position is representing the residents at Isaacs Houses and Holmes Towers.
“Ever since I’ve been the council member, we’ve brought the funding for these turkeys to make sure that everybody can have a Thanksgiving. I’ll just say that in partnership with Greg Morris here at the Isaacs Center, we’ve increased the distribution to 400 this year—I’d like to thank Assemblyman Dan Quart, Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez and Governor Andrew Cuomo.”
And Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez noted he was eager to pitch in.
“The residents are fabulous, I’m glad that we are able to do something for them. We know that the need is so great this year, but luckily, we’ve had great partners including the Governor and New York Common Pantry. For a lot of families that otherwise might be having a difficult time, I’m glad they’ll have support.”