SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Volunteers piling plates up high with all the Thanksgiving fixings Thursday. Two local charities opening their doors this holiday serving both delicious food and warm welcomes to the Schenectady community.

“As important as the food is—and it’s very important—knowing people care feeds people in a different way, and in a sense, in a more lasting way,” says City Mission of Schenectady Executive Director Michael Saccocio.

Both the Tabernacle of New Hope Church and the City Mission of Schenectady offering a seat at their tables this Thanksgiving. They’re providing for those in need, but also for folks who just don’t want to be alone on a holiday. 

“At the end of the day, we have to give back to the community that we are around. We know not everybody can be fortunate enough to be with their families on Thanksgiving or holidays,” says one volunteer Ezekiel Rengasawmy.

“I’ve met a lot of new people here, honestly, and it’s just really rewarding. I love seeing people in my community and interacting with them. All the little kids too!” says Kimberly Delaney who is volunteering for the first time this year with a friend.

Organizers say with inflation burning a hole through grocery lists, it was a challenge to make sure they had all the favorites, but it also made them all the more determined to save others that same heartache.

“I’ve been here about 30 years. It’s the most I’ve seen people struggle with the inflation, with finding housing, so our shelters are full. As you can see, the dining center is full. All the more reason why we need to come together,” says Saccocio.

“In fact, I think it actually helps because it pushes us. Everything that is done for this dinner is done through volunteers and donations,” says Suzanne Mangroo, a co-organizer of the New Hope dinner.

Governor Kathy Hochul lacing up her own apron as one of the volunteers alongside Mayor Gary McCarthy to dish out the Thanksgiving meals. Hochul says she’s happy to see New York honoring the spirit of the holiday.

“I’m really thankful that there’s places like this right here in Schenectady and all over the state. People giving their time on Thanksgiving to help others,” she says.

“That’s the definition of love, giving, and Thanksgiving that’s people being very nice. I wish people could be nice all the time,” says one dinner recipient Bill Biegel.