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Turkey drives provide thousands of free birds on East Side

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Local politicians pitched in with area civic organizations and a food pantry to provide turkeys to East Siders for the Thanksgiving holiday.

The community’s largest turkey giveaway was Vision Urbana’s fifth annual turkey drive. This holiday food pantry supports public housing residents in local New York City Housing Authority and Section 8 developments. A total of 2,100 turkeys and chickens were delivered to grateful families, feeing around 15,000 residents. Led by Assemblymember Grace Lee, others aided the effort, including Congressmember Dan Goldman, Councilmember Christopher Marte, the Hispanic Federation, Food Bank For New York City, City Harvest, Grand Street Democrats, Downtown Independent Democrats and New York Cares.

Assemblymember Grace Lee pitched in to help provide turkeys to local residents for the holiday.

“Thanks to the efforts of the nonprofits, volunteers and community members that supported this year’s drive, thousands of families in NYCHA and Section 8 will celebrate this year’s holiday without worrying about how they can afford it,” Lee said. “The ongoing success of this drive is an amazing demonstration of the solidarity and generosity in our Lower East Side community, and it was a joy to connect with so many residents this weekend and share the holiday spirit. I am proud to host this drive as part of my ongoing commitment to uplift public housing residents and to make it easier for them to enjoy the holidays with their families. I wish everyone in the district a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.”

“We need our NYCHA households to receive a touch of hope and thoughtful resources for the holidays,” said Eric Diaz, executive director of Vision Urbana Inc. “At the end of every week, we are providing over 2,000 households with either home-delivered or on-site pickup of groceries or fresh fruit and vegetables within NYCHA developments and the volunteerism of more than 13 Resident Association presidents. Since 2019, Grace Lee and family have championed Vision Urbana’s NYCHA Thanksgiving Drive to ensure thousands of NYCHA residents not only receive support for the holidays but every week through Vision Urbana’s Pantry Express. Vision Urbana is thankful for her ongoing support and her commitment to this community!”

From left, Alejandro Epifanio, executive director of Loisaida; John Blasco, deputy chief of staff for Representative Dan Goldman; Councilmember Carlina Rivera; Mike Schweinsburg, president of 504 Democrats; a community member; state Senator Brian Kavanagh; Assemblymember Harvey Epstein; and a community member at the fifth annual turkey drive.

Assemblymember Harvey Epstein and his team, partnering with Loisaida Inc., gave away 1,700 Thanksgiving meals to families who might not otherwise have one, including 1,500 turkeys, 200 pernils and 400 bags of pantry staples. Also part of the effort state Senator Brian Kavanagh, Councilmember Carlina Rivera and Congressmember Goldman.

“For the past five years, Baruch tenants have been able to count on the Office of Assemblymember Epstein and the Loisaida Center to provide them with a Thanksgiving meal. This year 90 of my tenants will have a meal on the table thanks to their generosity” said Camille Napoleon, president of the Baruch Houses Tenant Association.

Assemblymember Harvey Epstein and members of GOLES during the turkey drive.

“Thanks to the generosity of community partners we’re giving two dozen turkeys to the residents of LES III who otherwise might not be able to afford a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with their family this year,” said Sabura Rashid, T.A. president of Lower East Side III Townhouses.


  1. Carol Frances Yost Carol Frances Yost November 30, 2023

    It’s wonderful that there are charity Thanksgiving drives like this one. It’s such a shame that people need this charity at all, but I’m glad it’s here.

  2. John Penley John Penley November 23, 2023

    Aholes are throwing eggs at the homeless in the East Village

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