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Giving Back: Thanksgiving kicks off holiday season of charity

NEW YORK (WABC) — Thanksgiving is the kickoff to the holiday season that inspires many to give back and help those less fortunate.

From holiday meals and food giveaways to fundraisers for worthy causes, adults and children alike come together to ’tis the season for folks in need.

Here are some of the many things happening across the Tri-State area.

National Action Network gives out free turkeys
The Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network will host thousands of people for Thanksgiving dinner Thursday, but on Monday night, the organization gave away hundreds of free turkeys.

Community leaders saying there are so many in need as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

The giveaway has been going on for more than a decade.

Fat Joe Bronx food giveaway
Ahead of Thanksgiving, Fat Joe teamed up with Krasdale Foods and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. to give away 3,000 bags of grocery bags filled with meal essentials.

Supplied by CTown Supermarkets, the bags included food products to make the perfect Thanksgiving dinner, such as chicken bouillon and other canned goods including beans, rice, cranberries, stuffing, tomato sauce, vegetables, and milk.

The three events are taking place at P NYC retail locations in the Bronx and Washington Heights Wednesday.

11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m: 2490 Third Ave Bronx, NY 10454
1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.: 519 W 207th Street, Bronx, NY 10034
3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.: 3806 Broadway, New York, NY 10032

Baldwin elementary school hosts Turkey Trot
School children from Brookside Elementary School are running a Turkey Trot ahead of Thanksgiving in celebration of the food drive they have been hosting at their school. The youngsters have been collecting non-perishable items to donate to Island Harvest Food Bank, a leading hunger-relief organization whose mission is to “end hunger and reduce food waste on Long Island.”

The food drive is a part of the school’s character education program, where currently students are learning about kindness and empathy.

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“The donations are a way to showcase these character pillars and give to others in need,” principal Unal Karakas said. “The Turkey Trot celebrates the donation to those in need, and also reinforces the skills of collaboration and community, especially as we approach Thanksgiving.”

In 2020, Island Harvest Food Bank received their largest food donation from a school from the children at Brookside, and the school is planning to break their own record Wednesday.

This holiday season, Island Harvest Food Bank’s goal is to have enough food and turkeys to feed nearly 100,000 Long Islanders. The non-perishable items from the Baldwin elementary school will go perfectly with the 17,000 turkeys the organization needs to help Long Islanders struggling to put food on their tables.

Due to the pandemic, the organization is helping more Long Islanders than ever before. From July 1, 2020, through June 30, Island Harvest Food Bank distributed 18.4 million pounds of food, the equivalent of 15.3 million meals.

Toys for Tots bins go up across NYC
Toys for Tots collection boxes have been set up all over New York City, one at the Immersive Van Gogh exhibit at Pier 36.

Toys can be dropped of through December 20.

Toys for Tots, in partnership with Disney, has hundreds of drop off sites around the city.

Organizers say they are running extremely low on donations this year, partly due to the pandemic.

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