Monday, December 22, 2014

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Hudson Valley

Volunteers make Thanksgiving possible for many local residents

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Albany/HV: Volunteers make Thanksgiving possible for many local residents
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CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. — Whether it is 500 pies, 3,000 turkeys or 10,000 full meals, volunteers from around the Capital Region are working hard to make sure as many people as possible are able to have a happy Thanksgiving.

"We're looking forward to it, a lot of people are looking forward to a nice Thanksgiving dinner," said Tom Tibbitts, the head chef at Equinox.

"It's a pie, but it means a lot when there is not too much that they can say they have," said Baleigh Payne, founder of the "Easy as Pie" project.

Sunday marked a busy day for groups, as 500 pies were in the ovens at the Glen Sanders Mansion getting ready to be donated.

"We got here at about 8 this morning, we'll be here until about 1, or however long it takes," said Denise Murphy McGraw, chairwoman of the SCCC Board of Trustees.

Across town, almost 3,000 complete Thanksgiving meals were being handed out to those in need.

"They'll get the turkey, they'll get some butter, they'll get everything you would have at Thanksgiving," said Peter Jones, a member of Concerned for the Hungry.

Preparations are also underway to serve 10,000 meals at Equinox's annual Thanksgiving Day dinner.

"Of the 10,000 - 9,500 of those meals are delivered to people's homes," said Christina Rajotte, director of community relations and development for Equinox.

Each year tens of thousands of people right here in our community are helped by charities like these, but it doesn't happen easily. It takes a small army of volunteers to make it happen.

"We have over 3,600 volunteers," said Rajotte.

"There's about 1,500 people who come through," said Jones.

"There's quite a number of people here working. They are working very hard," said Murphy McGraw.

The recipients of the volunteers' generosity only have one thing to say.

"Bless them... they do a good job," said Wanda Carmen.

"It means I can sit down to Thanksgiving dinner, and know that I have helped somebody else have the same kind of Thanksgiving that I have," said Jones.

That's a feeling shared by all the volunteers who have given their time to help their neighbors in need.

How to Help

There are a number of ways you can volunteer your time this holiday season. For more information you can visit: Concerned For the Hungry or How To Volunteer at Equinox. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP