Volunteers hand out meals, blankets on freezing Thanksgiving Day

Posted at 6:01 PM, Nov 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-22 18:01:39-05

On Thanksgiving Day there are number of volunteers all over the city who help serve meals to those in need.

At Our Lady of Grace in Gravesend, the need hits close to home. Jaime Mcfarland started the annual dinner three years ago when a friend and parish member ended up in a homeless shelter with her children.

"I realized then that there wasn't enough organizations out there helping those kind of people who find themselves in that situation where they never expected to be," Mcfarland said.

The first year they served about 30 people. This Thanksgiving, they're serving about 100.

"I mean the whole point of Thanksgiving is helping others and living the gospel in our day to day lives," Mcfarland said. "So I feel like this really does that for us."

Teachers and parents volunteered to cook the traditional Thanksgiving feast throughout the week thanks to donations from A&S Fine foods and Cuccio's bakery.

Students from the Catholic Academy help serve the meals.

"You're giving back to the community which is amazing and then you're hanging out with your family and you get to tell them about it," said seventh grader Josie Lamattina.

This year, one of the coldest Thanksgivings ever recorded, volunteers weren't just handing out warm meals, they were also handing out warm blankets.

"It is freezing out there today, so to be able to give these people exactly what they need today it feels pretty good," Fiorito said.

Fiorito and his brother Nick started Blankets of Hope three years ago.

The first year they handed out 100 blankets to the homeless, each with a handwritten note, last year they handed out 1,000, and this Thanksgiving, they're shooting for 10,000.

"In order to get that done, Nick and I can't do it alone so we're partnering with schools all across the country and Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy is the very first one today," Fiorito said.

For this batch, each of the handwritten notes came from a different student, each one meant to remind the recipient that they're cared for throughout the year.

"I think the kids are actually better at having empathy and not having judgments in their minds than adults," Fiorito said. "They bring a certain innocence to each note that they right."

"I hope whoever gets the blanket feels happy, feels love, feels that they're a part of something," Lammattina said.

And that is something to be thankful for.