Long Island non-profit feeds over 500 families for Thanksgiving with donated meals

HUNTINGTON STATION, New York (WABC) -- For over 50 years, the Helping Hand Rescue mission has collected and boxed thousands of Thanksgiving essentials to donate to families in need.

The Mission was founded in 1965 by Reverend J.A. Gaines, his wife, Reverend Rose Marie Gaines, and her mother, Florence E. Meringola. It is now run by their daughter, Kim Gambino, who starts collecting donations for the big Thanksgiving food distribution as early as June.

"There are a lot of people who want to help others and they don't know what to do," said Gambino. "We give them an idea of... here you can bring some food, here you can come help boxes, or you can give someone a pie. To give people that sense of community and that sense of I can share in this Thanksgiving celebration with our community in this way."

The boxes consist of enough food to provide a family with an authentic Thanksgiving dinner and breakfast for the morning after. Volunteers have been working non-stop to make sure every box is perfect and that no cranberry sauce is left behind.

"So many people don't wonder where their Thanksgiving meal is going to come from and knowing that it's something I don't worry about, keeps you grounded," said volunteer, Ingrid Wright. "You worry about silly things from the day and some people have real concerns about where their next meal is."

"To be reminded every day that it's not a hassle and it's not just another day where things go on sale at the stores," said Gambino. "It's a time really to pause and reflect... we are so blessed."

To get involved with Helping Hand Rescue mission, visit their website.

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