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As Thanksgiving approaches, New York deli offers free chickens to families in need

N.Y. deli giving away food to families in need
New York deli giving away food to families in need 01:31

For most Americans, Thanksgiving is turkey day. But a deli owner in Saratoga Springs, New York, is serving a different bird — and he wants to make sure no one is left out.

The smell of the freshly roasted chickens is almost as powerful as the joy he's bringing to families in need in upstate New York.

Daniel Chessare, the owner of Saratoga's Broadway Deli, said he's given away 100 chickens since posting a message to the community on Facebook. The post reads in part, "The community has been generous to us so we would like to be generous back."

"I feel like they're like they're kind of like this forgotten middle class between, you know, they're unemployed, but they're not homeless," Chessare said. "They're hungry, but they don't necessarily qualify for programs."

Saratoga's Broadway Deli
Chickens are cooked at Saratoga's Broadway Deli in Saratoga Springs, New York. CBS News

The deli owner explained to CBS News why he is choosing chickens over turkeys. "Our deli is very small, and we have one double-decker oven. So I can cook like 36 chickens at a time, or I can cook like 12 turkeys."

Chessare — a single father — said the deli has always given leftover food to the homeless and offered free lunch to students since the coronavirus pandemic hit in March.

"There's this tendency when there's a tragedy, or in this case like the pandemic, to pull back in order to save money to survive when it actually turns out that the more we give, the more we get back," Chessare said.

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