Emergency Response Manager, Kate Dischino spent Thanksgiving Day at the Nassau Community College emergency shelter, where AmeriCares sponsored a turkey dinner with all the trimmings for 500 people in need. Below, she shares her impressions of the day.
It’s Thanksgiving morning. The dew sparkles on the ground, the smell of turkey dinner is in the crisp air, and the high energy of volunteerism runs rampant. American Red Cross emergency response vehicles are lined up and down the street in front of a local Long Island park, waiting for the meals to be prepared and loaded for delivery. These will be brought to various areas across the community. Inside tents, Southern Baptist Convention volunteers are preparing 6,000 Thanksgiving meals, including turkey, mashed potatoes and vegetables.
Today, I’m grateful to be in Long Island with dedicated volunteers who are spending the holiday away from their families and the many residents who are starting the long road to recovery. Everyone is brought together today to share this meal. AmeriCares is sponsoring 500 Thanksgiving Day meals for people in need at the Nassau Community College shelter in Long Island. Four weeks from Hurricane Sandy’s landfall, hundreds of residents still find themselves displaced, and living in this shelter. This is just one way AmeriCares has delivered assistance to the Nassau Community College Shelter. Previously 50 medical needs cots, a dozen wheelchairs, a refrigerator to store insulin for diabetic patients, and more than 1,400 pounds of first aid supplies and over-the-counter medicines were delivered here.
I start the day at the park, where the food is being prepared. One volunteer in a black jacket stirs the mashed potatoes so feverishly that splatters of white are flying onto his chest during each churn. The pots on either side steam while cooking 150 servings of mashed potatoes at one time. As the meals are prepared, they are packaged in containers that keep the food hot and fresh. The meals are delivered to the Nassau Community College shelter, where they are served to grateful residents. The favorite item on the menu – the gravy!
Residents and volunteers share how thankful they are for AmeriCares support. In response, I thank them. And together we encourage each other as we continue together on the long road ahead.
Learn more about Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts here.