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Hudson Valley

37th annual Woodstock Community Thanksgiving

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Albany/HV: 37th annual Woodstock Community Thanksgiving
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Close to 500 Woodstock residents of all walks of life gather Thursday, celebrating their 37th annual community dinner. YNN's John Wagner has more on why they're thankful.

ULSTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Since 1975, the nonprofit Family of Woodstock has thrown a reunion of sorts for their extended family: Everyone living in Woodstock is welcomed to a free feast.

"We never really know who's going to be here and what we're going to have, it just kinda happens," explained Tamara Cooper, program director at Family of Woodstock. "It's kinda magical and it warms all of our hearts."

Thirty restaurants offer up the fixings and so many volunteer to help, they have to turn volunteers away. But no one goes home hungry or without a grateful heart.

"I'm thankful for mother earth and how she provides all these amazing things," "I'm thankful for life, love, and the pursuit of happiness," "I somehow managed to pay my mortgage," and "I am thankful to the Native Americans who helped the pilgrims survive," were just a few of the responses.

Turkey day elicits a cornucopia of thanks from everybody, whether they be young or old, rich or poor, simple or eccentric.

"I am thankful for 'Star Trek: the Next Generation' teaching humans how to live better," "his
new fish moonlight, he's whitish pinkish, just got him yesterday," "was selected to be Santa Claus for the next Christmas party," "the fact that I am alive at 90 years old and I think I can still kick a football," said others.

"I have things that other people might not be able to have and I wish they could have these things too," said one boy.

"I'm really thankful for living in a community that cares about everyone," continued Tamara Cooper. "That doesn't have tolerance, but has acceptance.”

Known for a host of food pantries, shelters, hotlines and counseling services. Family of Woodstock for some, really is kin.

"Today's my birthday and I didn't have anybody to share Thanksgiving with and this has been absolutely the best birthday I ever had," said one woman.

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