Homeless volunteers spread Thanksgiving holiday cheer in the Bronx
Volunteers at the Aisling Irish Community Center in Yonkers prepare meals for the homeless on Monday.
Dozens of volunteers from the Irish community packed into the back room of the Aisling Irish Community Center in Yonkers on Monday, November 21 to prepare the annual Thanksgiving dinners for the homeless.
Now a tradition for nearly 12 years, the Irish Volunteers for the Homeless go that extra mile the week of Thanksgiving to help out the homeless of New York City and this year was no different.
Some 300 meals were prepared and packaged at the center on Monday. Over 50 volunteers, including the dozen or so regular volunteers that give up their time every Monday night to help out, spent hours deboning turkeys, preparing vegetables and packing bags.
Later that evening an additional 10 or so volunteers distributed the 300 meals to homeless men and women on the streets in Manhattan.
Volunteers this year varied in age. Alexa Wall, 11, whose dad is from Co. Dublin, told the Irish Voice in between packing food that she was more than happy to give up her free time to help out.
“I’m here to help the homeless because l feel people with less than me, the unfortunate ones, should have things to help them be comfortable,” she said.
It was Alexa’s 10-year-old friend Maeve Lavery (mom from Co. Armagh and dad from Co. Tyrone) who encouraged her classmates to help out on Monday.
“I’m not even here for service hours,” said Maeve, meaning she wasn’t trying to score points for school.
“I just want to be here to help out people that do not have homes and food on this special week.”
Longtime volunteer with the Irish homeless group, Seamus Smyth from Co. Longford, told the Irish Voice he enjoys helping out the city’s homeless.
“I’m retired so I have plenty of time on my hands. I worked about 50 or 60 years so I was itching for something to do and now I volunteer,” said Smyth, who now lives in Woodlawn in the Bronx.
Every Monday without fail Smyth shows up to make sandwiches. This past Monday he lent a hand getting the Thanksgiving dinners ready.
“I’m happy doing God’s work,” he said.
Without the help from the Local 3 Electrical Union this annual event would not be taking place.
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