Volunteers serve Thanksgiving meals to those in need at church in White Plains

WHITE PLAINS, Westchester County (WABC) -- Many people were saying thanks Thursday by giving back to the community.

There was a large turnout for the holiday meals at the Grace Episcopal Church in White Plains.

Ask Frank Reda what the meal meant to him, and his answer is blunt.

"It means I had no food and no money, I ran out," he said.

Or Andrea Holder. "I battled cancer every day. I do chemo and I'm in the same boat," she said.

And so at the church, the goal was to make life a little better.

Preparation began early in the morning, with volunteers cooking in the kitchen or making sandwiches for an extra take home meal on the way out.

The room was transformed with decorations made by pre-school children.

In all, 75 people donated their time from all over Westchester, often thought of as just an affluent suburb.

"The need is great," said Nancy Inzinna of Lifting Up Westchester. "This is my fourth holiday and I've seen it go up. Lifting Up Westchester has really risen to the occasion with the help of the community."

Nearly 200 meals were served this Thanksgiving. The volunteers worked in three shifts, many of them young people like the Russell brothers who have been coming for 10 years.

"It feels really good on Thanksgiving to give back," said Charlie Russell. "It makes the meal we have home later even more special because it feels great to help those in need."

Lifting Up Westchester provides food every weekday, but on this day it was a sitdown meal with table service.

"It's a great place because it gives people hope. It lets them know that there's someone in the community that's there for them,' said volunteer Mike Baptiste.

Providing a little holiday happiness.
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