Thanksgiving Meal Brings Community Together

Volunteers chop apples at a long table

On Thanksgiving morning, the dining room at 88th and Columbus was filled with volunteers chopping mountains of carrots and celery, cutting hundreds of slices of bread, and carving dozens of turkeys.

“I always love to do this,” said Valery Bratman, who was here for the ninth time. “I think the volunteers that come here, they really want to be here and they really want to help, and it’s really fun to be with people who enjoy what they’re doing.”

At noon the dining room filled up with guests ready to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Over the next three hours, 526 people were served full Thanksgiving meals at tables decorated with floral centerpieces and covered with pumpkin-colored tablecloths. Some guests were unhoused and needed a hot meal and a welcoming space for the holiday. Others were residents of our supportive housing, and still others were community members who’ve been coming for years to enjoy a festive day with their fellow New Yorkers.

It was the first time we’d hosted indoor dining for the Thanksgiving meal since 2020. For those who preferred to dine at home, volunteers delivered another 637 meals, for a total of 1163.

The Holiday Meals are part of our year-round fight against hunger, which includes affordable lunches at our Older Adult Centers, food pantries, Meals on Wheels, and more.

“Food is fundamental,” said Goddard Riverside President Roderick L. Jones. “You can’t study, work or live to your full potential if you’re hungry. That’s why Goddard and our partners at the Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center are committed to helping people meet their food needs not just on Thanksgiving but every day.”