BELLMORE, N.Y. - Since losing his job as a chef at the start of the pandemic, a Long Island resident is still cooking, focusing his efforts this week on feeding the hungry.
As he says, it takes an army to pull it off.
First the food was prepped, and now it's being packed to deliver to those in need across Long Island.
"This year, once again, there was a need for it," Ryan Caroll said.
Carroll is the found of Carroll's Kitchen. The effort began back in 2020 after losing his job as chef in New York City.
"Taught me how to be resilient. I could have just given up. I never stopped moving, and that continues to this day," Carroll said. "We fed over a half a million people - 500,000 meals since March 17th, 2020."
All through his nonprofit.
This Thanksgiving, teaming up with other charities including Bellmore Kiwanis to feed as many veterans, elderly people and families as possible.
"Food prices have gone up in the past year across the board. From flour, everything. Turkey this year was very expensive. We did a lot of fundraising in order to pull this off," Carroll said.
Since Monday, hundreds of volunteers have been gathering at the Bellmore Knights of Columbus to assemble meals, including retiree Jim Silberger of Wantagh.
"People on Long Island don't understand the food insecurity so many of our neighbors live with, and anything I can do to offset some of that food insecurity I get involved with," Silberger said.
It's a team effort. Nonprofit Liga de Justicia Foundation is taking 500 of the meals to Riverhead and Brentwood.
"It's hugely important. The community that I work in, which is predominantly Latino, there's a tremendous need," Bill Ferro of Liga de Justicia Foundation.
Carroll, too, is hitting the road, going door to door to deliver a happy Thanksgiving to those who need it most.
"I can't even say what it means. It's just a blessing for me and my family," said Bellmore resident Susan Ferraro.
By the end of the three days, 8,000 meals will be delivered to those in need.
Since losing his job, Carroll has since opened his own restaurants on Long Island called "Kick'n Chicken." He said it has been an unexpected but amazing few years, and it's very rewarding to give back.
If you'd like to help Carroll's Kitchen, CLICK HERE.
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