NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- For many people in our area, this is their first time celebrating Thanksgiving.
New York City is serving up tens of thousands of meals for asylum seekers throughout the day, including at a hotel in Midtown.
The food is piping hot and ready to be served!
Turkey and all the trimmings for hundreds of Thanksgiving meals for asylum seekers at the Watson Hotel.
It's a new experience for Joel Fernandez and his family who heard people talking about the holiday.
"This is great, I'm grateful to those who planned this and decided to give us this meal," he said.
The Health and Hospitals Corporation is serving up Thanksgiving meals at the 16 humanitarian centers, or HERRCS it operates throughout the city.
Meal prep was in full swing on Wednesday, but actual planning for the event began months ago.
The goal is to show the city's hospitality through food, and it's reflected in the variety of food options offered.
"We have gluten-free options, halal options, we have vegetarian options, and we have a full flavor profile because we don't have just one culture in our care. We really worked with our two vendors, we really worked to create a program that works for everybody," said Shereen Zaid, NYC Health and Hospitals.
NYC Health and Hospitals provides meals daily to the asylum seekers and Thanksgiving's meal will put HHC over 12 million meals served since the migrant crisis began.