Group of friends raise $25,000 for Thanksgiving turkey giveaway

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Friday, November 18, 2022
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There was no need to ask in Harlem on Thursday evening as they were handing out turkeys and all the fixings for free at the Drew Hamilton Center. Josh Einiger has the story.

HARLEM, Manhattan (WABC) -- Everyone deserves to celebrate Thanksgiving - but not everyone can.

"And it means a lot because you know, not a lot of people have anything and a lot of people are scared to ask for help," said Christine Knox.

There was no need to ask in Harlem on Thursday evening as they were handing out turkeys and all the fixings for free at the Drew Hamilton Center.

"We are well-stocked for a food drive today," said Program Director TaShana Pace.

Pace wore an ear-to-ear grin as she handed out fresh food to families in need.

"Even though everyone is struggling for Thanksgiving, whole families will be smiling," said Pace.

Exactly one year ago, Pace had only bad news to deliver. Eyewitness News was there as the line stretched down the block and the center ran out.

"The faces were sad - some people dropped their heads like 'are you sure?'" Pace said.

It just so happened a group of friends from a tech startup called the Kulu Foundation had been looking for a place to donate Thanksgiving meals. They stumbled upon the Drew Hamilton Center. There was desperate need in the slice of Harlem at a time when just a dozen eggs can cost eight dollars.

"We knew we wanted to do something kinda quick like this turkey drive, but we didn't know who needed it, so we were reaching out 'hey what do you think of the concept?' and they immediately jumped like 'hey, we actually ran out last year,'" said Matt Staub.

So Staub and his team raised $25,000 to provide hundreds of birds, freeing up Pace's limited budget for boxes filled for the rest of the meal - even fresh produce.

Christine Knox and her sister Annette say they will get their family together for the first time in years.

"No matter what we've been through in life, Thanksgiving is a time for family, and giving us this turkey makes us actually sit down as a family. And we are worthy of being together on the holidays just as much as anybody else," Knox said.

Five hundred turkeys were handed out at the Drew Hamilton Center - and they are also teaming up with the Kulu Foundation again for Christmas to hand out Pampers and pajamas.

It's giving people in their community what they need - at a time when they need it the most.

ALSO READ | Remains of fallen WWII soldier from NYC make journey home 75+ years later

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