Giving Thanks By Giving Back


As hundreds of folks across the peninsula and Broad Channel are hungrily anticipating Thanksgiving with visions of sumptuously prepared moist turkey, stuffing, sweet potato pie, cranberry sauce (need I continue?) dancing in their heads, some local folks have banded together to provide the same to local families in need.

Starting this past Monday, November 20, Edwin Williams and Jeffrey William-Maisonett of Arverne civic association, The Heart of Rockaway (THOR), and Florence Fergurson, board president of Friends of 59th Street Playground Association, joined forces to give away colossal fresh food baskets to families who do not have the means to prepare a Thanksgiving spread for their loved ones.

For Williams, the famous Mother Teresa saying — “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one” — holds true. “This is the second year, THOR is doing this Thanksgiving giveaway. Last year, we were able to present a few baskets to families, gifting them all the ingredients needed to create their own spread, from the turkey, right down to all the condiments and sides needed for them to craft their own Thanksgiving meal. This year, with donations from owners of Rockaway Commons (Dayton Plaza), Arverne By the Sea (ABTS) developers, the Benjamin Companies and the Beechwood Organization, and Keyfood Supermarket, we were able to create even more baskets to give out. Also, as soon as I contacted Florence from the Friends of 59th Street Playground Association, she hopped right on board to help us not only gather food for the baskets, but to pinpoint families, who may have felt timid about accepting donations, much less letting it be known that they needed help.”

Williams said that they are not just focusing on families in Arverne, but through word-of-mouth, have been able to reach other families throughout all ends of the peninsula, including Far Rockaway and Rockaway Beach.

“Local community advocates such as Lew Simon and Lisa George from Senator Sanders’ office have been instrumental in identifying families who we could bless with our baskets. We have been sensitive to cultural food traditions of some families, like for example, Latino families who would appreciate ingredients necessary to create meals that fit in with their culture. Also, we have been able to connect with military families, who may have a loved one deployed overseas.

As a community, if we put all our biases and communal strife aside, and instead focus on how we can help each other, this world will be a better place,” Williams said.

Thanksgiving may be one day away, but it’s not too late to help. As of press time, Williams and his team are hard at work giving out baskets just in time for the big bird to thaw out and be prepared for baking. If you are in a personal predicament or know of a family who would benefit from a Thanksgiving food basket, feel free to contact THOR at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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