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Community effort helps get turkeys on tables in Syracuse

Turkey Giveaway at Boys and Girls Club
Jessica Cain
Turkey Giveaway at Boys and Girls Club

There may be tables without turkeys this Thanksgiving, as the pandemic lead to tough times for many Central New Yorkers, but organizers of an event in Syracuse are hoping to change that.

Elected officials and other volunteers lined up to hand out free turkeys at the Syracuse Boys and Girls Club.

Natalie Smith attended the event and waited with a big smile on her face.

"I don't have a turkey, and I prayed last night that a turkey would come my way,” says Smith. “This is a blessing."

East Fayette St. Boys and Girls Club Unit Director Kenyata Calloway said need is particularly high this year in the wake of the pandemic.

“Due to the pandemic, everybody is not able to get all the assistance and the help because some people still did work, so they’re not getting the stimulus and the extra food stamps,” said Calloway. “They still need a little bit of help. They might be working and their spouse might not, or their kids are home now.”

Calloway said she wants community members to know they’re not alone this Thanksgiving.

"I feel like we still need to understand that the giving spirit is just being able to come together, break bread together, and be able to say what our neighbors need,” said Calloway. “We still can come together and help each other."

For Smith, who plans to spend Thanksgiving Day with her sister, gathering with loved ones in the COVID-19 era is especially important.

"It just brings the family together, and that's what a lot of people need right now," said Smith.

The Boys and Girls Club worked with its partners Peace Inc., the YWCA, Huntington Family Centers, and Take Back the Streets on the event.

Jessica Cain is a freelance reporter for WRVO, covering issues around central New York. Most recently, Jessica was a package producer at Fox News in New York City, where she worked on major news events, including the 2016 presidential conventions and election. Prior to that, she worked as a reporter and anchor for multiple media outlets in central and northern New York. A Camillus native, Jessica enjoys exploring the outdoors with her daughters, going to the theater, playing the piano, and reading.