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Thanksgiving meals for those in need

Red Cross, AmeriCares, provide turkey dinners

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Thanksgiving will have a different feel to it this year for many Long Island residents after Hurricane Sandy devastated thousands of homes in the area more than three weeks ago.

The American Red Cross is providing about 35,000 hot meals across Long Island as a way to make sure people who are in need get a traditional Thanksgiving meal. At Nassau Community College, the county’s lone remaining Red Cross shelter, a Thanksgiving meal will be served on Thursday. As of Nov. 21, 325 people were staying in the shelter, although many more rely on it for meals.

AmeriCares, a nonprofit global health and disaster relief organization, is providing about 500 traditional turkey dinners with all of the trimmings to people at the Nassau Community College shelter on Thanksgiving.

“Some families have been at the shelter for weeks and don’t know when they can return home,” said Kate Dischino, AmeriCares emergency response manager, “With the holiday approaching, we want to make sure they have a nice, festive celebration to look forward to. We’re hoping it will be a bright spot between the trauma of the storm and the long recovery ahead.”

The Red Cross will serve Thanksgiving lunches—including turkey, mashed potatoes and apple pie—from fixed feeding sites in New Jersey and New York. Red Cross response vehicles will also travel through affected neighborhoods to provide these meals. This is a continuation of the extensive Red Cross feeding operation that has been underway for weeks, carried out in partnership with the Southern Baptist Convention.

Red Cross Emergency Response vehicles will be loaded with meals, which will be prepared by volunteers, and depart from the Red Cross Feeding Kitchen in Deer Park. The volunteers will then cover 26 feeding routes across Long Island between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m

Nearly 5,100 Red Cross workers are supporting shelters and providing meals and supplies at fixed sites and driving through neighborhoods. Since Hurricane Sandy made landfall, the Red Cross has:

- Served 6.6 million meals and snacks

- Distributed 3.9 million relief items, such as hygiene items, cleaning supplies, flashlights, rakes, shovels, tarps, dust masks, work gloves and cold weather items

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