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Feeding a Five Towns need during Covid


Thanksgiving is going to be different this year because of the coronavirus pandemic from a reimagined Macy’s holiday parade to not seeing the usual amount of people around table, and Cedarhurst-based Rock and Wrap It Up! will host its 29th annual Thanksgiving feast in a different form.

Instead of a mainly sit down meal with a takeout option at St. John Baptist Church in Rockaway Beach at least 1,200 free meals will be takeout only and distributed at the Five Towns Community Center in Lawrence on Thanksgiving Day from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Volunteers begin the day at 7:30 a.m. under the guidance of Diane Mandelbaum, whose husband Syd founded and runs Rock and Wrap It Up! Many seniors typically attended the indoor event and the teenagers helping would usually spend time with them. “We have the kids talk to them and that’s what missing,” Syd said, on the contrast with other years.
The meals served in a clamshell will include stuffing, sweet potatoes, veggies cranberry sauce, ham, turkey. Kosher meals are also served with advanced notice. Meals will be given out at room temperature to reheat at home.

“It take a whole city not just a village,” he said, noting the amount of donations from Edward and Michelle Shorenstein donating 45 turkeys and 15 hams to what he called “our trusty bakers,” this year adding Seawane Country Club and Lawrence Yacht & Country Club and restaurants donating food, including Dickey’s Barbecue Pit Friendlier Pizza, Frank’s Steakhouse, Montego Bay Bar and Grill and Wall’s Bake Shop.

Syd also gave credit to Rock and Wrap It Up! board member Saul Lerner and K. Brent Hill, the executive director of the Community Center and longtime board member Pete Sobol. “It is a joyous day, when out aside any political differences, our country is one when it comes together,” Syd said.

There will be temperature checks for volunteers and they need to bring a mask. Gloves will be supplied. There are four shifts. To volunteer, call (516) 295-0670. To preregister for the meals email gammyspantry@gmail.com or call Sasha Young at (347) 702-2013.

Pre-Thanksgiving meals
On the day before the holiday more than 600 families that registered by Oct. 31 will receive a 10 to 12 pound turkey with all the fixings through Long Island Cares and Gammy’s Pantry run by Young out of the Community Center.

Long Island Cares, which has also been supplying food as Gammy’s Pantry is a LIC site, provided 508 turkeys and the other 120 are being supported by private donations, Young said. “If a family is truly in need they will never be turned away from Gammy’s Pantry,” she added.

“I am so excited about this,” Young said about the Thanksgiving Day takeout meals. “Rock and Wrap it Up! has teamed up with Gammy’s Pantry and the Five Towns Community Center for a Thanksgiving feast. While the last few months have been extremely difficult for so many it has been a tremendous blessing to be working so closely with RWU which enabled us to be able to provide food to so many more during this time!”