ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Many families are feeling the impact of inflation on their Thanksgiving meal efforts and searching for other ways to share a meal with family. For 53 years, Equinox’s annual Thanksgiving dinner has made a difference for over 10,000 people in the Capital Region.

That need has only risen in recent years with the pandemic and inflation changing how families handle the holiday. This week, they’ll serve 11,000 people, 500 more than in years past.

“We’ve seen an increase in requests for meals and we anticipated it because obviously with inflation, the cost of groceries, gas, everything else, transportation, we anticipated we would see this,” Christina Rajotte, Interim Senior Director of Administrative Services, said. “We are happy that we will be able to meet those needs.”

Following the pandemic, Equinox shifted from community volunteer events to teaming up with volunteer drivers to deliver meals from local restaurants to families throughout the week. “We have more volunteers throughout the week that can help us deliver,” Rajotte said. “We have nearly 700 volunteer drivers that are delivering the meals within a 60-mile radius of Albany, so that’s a huge area to cover.”

At the Capital City Rescue Mission, preparations are underway for their annual Thanksgiving dinner, the organization is looking to serve 2,000 people with sit-down and take-out meals. Turkey, and all the fixings, were donated by local churches and other organizations hoping to fill an increased need for the homeless in Albany.

“The homeless numbers are up and we are seeing a lot of people who are struggling and we are able to be a light for them in tough times,” said Perry Jones, Executive Director for the Capital City Rescue Mission.

It takes more than donations to make a Thanksgiving meal. Both organizations said volunteer numbers are still strong and that makes all the difference in serving those who need it most. “I’ve never seen so much ‘Thanksgiving,’ among the homeless and needy as they come to me and say thank you for being here, thank you for this place,” Jones said.

Equinox’s meal can be requested for delivery at (518) 434-0131. The Capital City Rescue Mission begins serving its Thanksgiving meal at noon on Thursday.