ALBANY COUNTY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — In years past, Equinox turned out more than 10,000 Thanksgiving meals, and provided delivery service to people who need it throughout the Capital Region. This year, with the news that they’re cutting out delivery, other agencies in the area are stepping up to the plate.
“We had a few brief moments of panic, where I’m like, ‘wow, we could get inundated,'” said Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple.
The Albany County Sheriff’s Office usually prepares about 1000 meals for its annual Thanksgiving delivery. In trying to fill the new gaps, Apple said it’ll be more like 2,200 this year.
The Tuesday before Thanksgiving, volunteers will drive meals to people who can’t leave their homes, and anyone else who signs up.
Apple said people looking to help out can volunteer to make deliveries. Sheriff’s Office Secretary Kim DeDantis has helped before and recommends it as a way to give back.
“It’s such a pleasure to see the joy you can bring to other people while you are working, and it makes the work seem very light,” said DeSantis.
The City of Watervliet is also joining the fray. Mayor Charles Patricelli said the city used to receive meals from Equinox at the senior center, and then distribute them. He’s now enlisting the help of local restaurants to provide an estimated 200+ meals to people in the city the day before Thanksgiving.
“We just did not want to do ‘nothing,'” Mayor Patricelli said.
Equinox officials said instead of delivery, the organization will focus on bringing the dinner back to its roots and holding it as a sit-down dinner at First Presbyterian Church in Albany. A take out option will still be available.
Meanwhile, local food pantries are bracing for demand they may struggle to meet this Thanksgiving. According to Food Pantries for the Capital District, pantries are low on resources.
“We have, like, 30 percent of our pantries saying that they’re concerned about making it to the end of the year,” said Angie Pender-Fox, the organization’s Associate Executive Director, “and so they want to provide those Thanksgiving services, but know that they need support to do that.”
If you want to help out, the organization recommends you call your local food pantry first to find out what they need and do so well in advance of Thanksgiving. They say if you wait to donate until the day before the holiday, it might be too late to help. Monetary donations are also helpful.