WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, Manhattan (PIX11) — Dozens of asylum seekers in New York City had their first Thanksgiving meal Thursdays and, thanks to Catholic Charities, they got all the trimmings.

The Thanksgiving luncheon in Washington Heights has been going on for over 30 years. This year, the event was devoted to asylum seekers.

Robin Mena Mejia, a 10-year-old boy from the Dominican Republic, was so so excited for his first Thanksgiving ever. Mejia now lives in Washington Heights; he came to America almost a year ago with his family. He got all the turkey and trimmings.  

His aunt, 63-year-old Maritza Coreas, said this Thanksgiving she is grieving the loss of her husband, but she was grateful to have the rest of her family close. 

Thanks to Catholic Charities Community Services of New York and Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center, it was a holiday luncheon to remember for more than hundred families like the Meijias. It was mostly asylum-seekers and new arrivals from countries, the Dominican republic, El Salvador, and Africa.

Some were FaceTiming relatives across the globe, others were meeting new friends and families for the first time inside the Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center in Washington Heights.

Organizers say it not just about the food, but also about building trust and relationships, connecting families to their community, and making sure they enjoy themselves. 

These families are able to connect with one another, all having survived the similar experience of coming to America in the hopes of a better life.  In addition to a hot meal, Alianza will provide families with essential items like MetroCards, coats, and toiletries. If you want to give, click here.