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Volunteers help distribute Thanksgiving supplies for those in need

Volunteers help assemble Thanksgiving supplies for those in need
Volunteers help assemble Thanksgiving supplies for those in need 02:43

NEW YORK - Monday was a day dedicated to getting food to those in need across the Tri-State Area.  

CBS2's Vanessa Murdock visited two distribution sites where happiness flowed as freely as the nutritious eats. 

There was a brigade of giving in Westchester County. 

"We're loading up the turkeys for the people," 13-year-old Ruth Katz said. 

"How many turkeys are you going to move today?" Murdock asked. 

"A lot," said 13-year-old Gwyneth Roestenberg. 

Along with turkeys, smiles moved down the line built of students from The Leffell School and The Transfiguration Catholic School and the Westchester Knicks. 

"Giving back is always a great thing, especially with the kids they making it fun," said Westchester Knicks shooting guard Trevor Keels. 

"I feel very blessed," said forward Nuni Omot. 

And grateful, he said. 

"Thanksgiving is one of my favorites because I love eating, especially turkey, so I'm just excited to be here," Omot said. 

Over 1,000 turkeys transferred from Stop and Shop in Tarrytown to Feeding Westchester. These birds are frozen now, but they're soon to be the centerpiece of Thanksgiving meals for so many.  

"Many of our neighbors right here in Westchester are still struggling with hunger," said Feeding Westchester Senior Director Elisabeth Vieselmeyer. She says inflation is the root cause. 

Across the river in Dumont, New Jersey, carefully curated boxes of fresh produce filled with apples, eggplant, cabbage and more get moved from the Community Food Bank of New Jersey to local pantries in Bergen County. 

"This is the first time we've received the fresh produce," said Debbie Cibelli with Paramus Community Pantry.

Cibelli said in the past, clients received a turkey, the trimmings and a gift card to shop. 

"And this year they'll have fresh produce to go with it, which I think they'll be very appreciative of," Cibelli said. 

"When families fall on hard times, the first thing to fall off is the nutritional value of food. Empty calories are most filling. They also happen to be cheapest," said Carlos Rodriguez, president & CEO of the Community Food Bank of New Jersey. 

Rodriguez says the boxes do more than feed neighbors - they nourish them. He adds need is up an estimated 40% compared to last year. 

"People think the pandemic's over, the need's not there to the same extent, and donations are down," said Tracy Zur, Bergen county commissioner and chair of the Bergen County Food Security Task Force. 

That's why events on Mondays are so important - food gets closer to those who need it most. Seventy thousand pounds of fresh produce was being distributed Monday. Law enforcement was present to load it all up. 

"Helps us better serve our communities and keep our communities safe," said Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella. 

"Everyone in America should celebrate Thanksgiving dinner to give thanks for everything we have," said 13-year-old Noah Weinsaft. 

Thanks to the hard work of all, more of our neighbors can now celebrate with a bountiful meal.  

To learn more about the the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, including many locations where you can make a donation, volunteer and more, CLICK HERE.

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