Posted at: 11/21/2012 11:34 PM
By: Dan Levy
ALBANY - So you think it's crowded in your kitchen? Try squeezing more than 3,500 people into your work space, preparing for Thanksgiving. That's exactly what Equinox was doing on Wednesday night, for the 43rd year in a row.
"We are not serving just the needy or the homeless or the hungry," Lea Bosquez, of Equinox, points out. "We are serving people who want to have a traditional holiday dinner. These are people who are home and either can't be transported anywhere else to have the community dinner with us in the afternoon, or they live alone and the wouldn't have a Thanksgiving dinner otherwise."
Thanksgiving dinners require turkeys. Equinox volunteers prepare five and a half tons of it -- all donated by Price Chopper.
The operation also includes more than 4,000 dinner rolls, 3,000 pounds of mashed potatoes, 2,000 pounds of carrots and green beans, more than 1,000 pies, and 9,000 containers of cranberry sauce.
Throughout the preparation process, not a single person complains about the hours of work it takes to dish it all out.
"I like being here," said Corey Kaninenberg, or Chatham. "I like to help people. I like everything."
"It makes you feel good on the inside," added Matthew Mayorchak, of Nassau, "The holiday season is coming and we're doing our part to help the community out."
"I feel it's just right to do this," said Bryana Greer of Albany. "There are a lot of helpless families out there who need food just like we do."
Congressman Paul Tonko (D - Amsterdam), who was volunteering for his 30th year at Equinox, praised the organization as a powerful force in the community that lifts people. He says the feeding phenomenon illustrates what a kind, caring, and giving community it is in which we live.
"It is kind of nice to see everybody working together for a common cause," Tonko says.
The sit-down meal is served at 1:00 P.M. Thursday at the First Presbyterian Church on State Street in Albany, across from Washington Park.
For those who can't make it to the church, meals will be delivered between 9:00 A.M. and 1:00 P.M. to homes within a 40 miles radius of downtown Albany.