ALBANY, N.Y. – Equinox hosts its 44th Annual Thanksgiving Day Community Dinner Thursday, feeding thousands in the Capital Region.
The dinner is entirely funded by donations of cash, food, and in-kind services from individuals, groups, schools, congregations, and businesses.
This tradition began in 1969 when a small group of community leaders shared Thanksgiving dinner at the First Presbyterian Church in Albany with 200 college students unable to get home for the holiday. Today, the dinner includes a sit-down meal for 500 at the Church as well as the preparation and delivery of 9,500 meals with all the trimmings.
More than 1,000 volunteer drivers lined up at the Empire State Plaza as early as 3 a.m. Thursday to pick up their assignments to deliver meals to those who live within a 40-mile radius of Albany.
Food prep and cooking began on Sunday and continued through Wednesday night in the kitchens at the Plaza. Volunteers continued their Thanksgiving preparations Thursday morning by continuing to box meals.
Governor Andrew Cuomo was one of the volunteers in attendance along with his three daughters.
"Part of our Thanksgiving has always been about doing for others," he said. "The conversation we just had this morning – if you just get caught counting up your own benefits – you'll never have enough. What it's really about is giving to others."
Equinox delivered meals from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and the sit-down dinner will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church on State Street in Albany.