NEW YORK — It’s a time of the year meant for loved ones to bond and share a delicious meal. But for many, Thanksgiving is a painful reminder of what they do not have. That’s why every year, the Bowery Mission makes sure to provide food and friendship to New Yorkers in need.

What You Need To Know

  • The Bowery Mission is roasting 237 turkeys and prepping about 1,500 pounds of potatoes for their annual Thanksgiving meal

  • They have been providing food, shelter and resources to homeless New Yorkers since the 1870’s 

  • The pandemic and rising food prices have posed many challenges, but they're on track to host more than 1,000 people on Thanksgiving

“We prepare everything from scratch," said James Winans, CEO of the Bowery Mission. "So our ovens are already going 24/7 as we roast the turkeys, carve the turkeys. We are preparing all the fixings, the side dishes, the pies, all of that for days and days leading up to Thanksgiving Day."

Since the 1870’s, the Bowery Mission has been providing food, shelter and other resources to those experiencing homeless.

Winans says the last couple years have been some of the toughest for the organization. First their chapel on the Lower East Side can no longer be used for indoor meals because of the pandemic. The Mission now gives out food containers to go. Now the current rise in the price of food, means some donations are harder to come by.

“We did receive fewer turkeys than we use to this year. Whereas Bowery Mission is used to sharing our abundance with other organizations, be they food banks, or churches or community groups that distribute those turkeys, this year we really had to focus on the meal here at the Bowery,” Winans said.

Still, he says there is more than enough food to feed the more than 1,000 people that are expected to show up.

About 200 volunteers from the city and other parts of the country, will be on-hand to distribute the meals. Guests will be able to enjoy them outside in decorated tents. And there is a special menu this year.

“We got a blackened Turkey this year," said Executive Chef Raffaele DePalma. "I tried something different do a black turkey rub, cream cheese mash. We’ve got a corn succotash, apple chutney, stuffing, mushroom gravy, and cornbread."

DePalma is no stranger to the Bowery Mission. For the last six years he has been at the forefront of the annual Thanksgiving Dinner. But before that, he too was homeless and in need of a hand.

“I went through another rough period of time, with drugs and I lost my job at a good restaurant in Manhattan. I’m actually a former member here at the Bowery Mission,” said the chef.

Which is why for him this meal is personal. It’s his way of giving thanks he says, and to show others who are in need, that they are not alone.