OSSINING, N.Y. A garage at St. Ann's Church's rectory was filled on Monday morning with frozen turkeys and boxes of Thanksgiving food such as mashed potatoes, stuffing, soup, gravy and canned vegetables.
"Thanks to God that people are wonderful and gave all this food," said Marilyn Perez of Ossining as she put a box of food in her car. "I plan to stay home with the family and eat a lot of different kinds of food. Trust me, I will use all this food."
St. Ann's Roman Catholic Church has been giving away Thanksgiving food boxes for more than 20 years, said Sister Eileen Finnerty, a pastoral associate of the church, located at 25 Eastern Ave. The church asks people to donate turkeys and other items and volunteers begin giving out the food the Monday before Thanksgiving.
"It's a service to the poor in Ossining," Finnerty said. "We just presume on the goodness of people that they need it and there are no questions asked."
Tania Cafarelli, a member of the St. Ann's parish staff, said the church collected about 130 turkeys this year, including 25 donated by La Placita supermarket and 25 donated by the Dominican Sisters of Hope.
"We asked for donations on the Ossining web blast and by word of mouth. I think people know now that they can bring turkeys here," Cafarelli said.
Cafarelli's father in law, Dominik Cafarelli dropped off a 25-pound turkey on Monday morning along with several bags filled with boxed mashed potatoes and stuffing.
"I was in the Army for two years and couldn't go home for Thanksgiving because I was a cook and I cooked Thanksgiving dinner," he said. "I think Thanksgiving is the best holiday in the world."
Lorenzo Black of Ossining shared Dominik Cafarelli's enthusiasm for Thanksgiving.
"I love it. It's the next best holiday besides Christmas," he said as he pushed a cart filled with Thanksgiving food down the St. Ann's rectory driveway. "Everybody gets to spend time with family and talk about the past, the future. Families don't sit down together as much as they should."
Father Edward Byrne, a pastor at St. Ann's, said the church had put together about 120 boxes of food this year and he expected all of them to be given out. Last year, St. Ann's gave away about 140 boxes of Thanksgiving food, Finnerty said.
Aside from giving out food for Thanksgiving, St. Ann's also has a food pantry all year long.
"Whenever anybody comes to the door, we give out food," Cafarelli said.
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