Equinox hotline officially opens

Albany County

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — We are exactly one month away from Thanksgiving, which means the Equinox hotline is officially open.

Starting Monday, the Equinox hotline opens and as one of the Capital Region’s largest holiday traditions, their volunteers are ready for calls to assist with dinner requests, donations, and volunteer inquiries.

Normally this is something where a group of volunteers gather in a conference room with phones ringing all day, but this year it is all remote and bringing new challenges ahead.

This year they are starting a week late and ending a week early to accommodate with the preparation. Due to the pandemic, they are anticipating between 10,00 and 11,000 meals to be distributed.

For long-time volunteer Nancy Virkler, her house went from having a normal living room to now a full-on Equinox hotline center.

“The thought of how in the heck are we going to do this and all of the intricacies of it I’m not sure we thought we could pull it off and I think we can,” said Virkler. I’m very confident now that we have the tools and we figured out ways to resolve this based on what we’ve got, the good partners we have and the support we have from the Equinox staff and support we have from technology. I think we’re gonna pull it off.”

Accompanied by a trusty laptop and monitor workstation, Virkler has a map of the Capital Region to see where the food is going and where is it coming from. She also drew up a chart, which shows where the bulk of the food will go out to everyday other than Thanksgiving. Everything is color coordinated, she said it is not the most ideal situation, but anything to make a difference.

Nancy is using post-it notes to divide up the zip codes of how many meals went out in 2019 and another color is for restaurants.

She said she is sure they will run into a few mistakes although it is expected, and with the time frame they have, they will be just fine.

The number for the Equinox hotline is (518) 434-0131.

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