By Janee Law
Andre Sorrentino and his family has set out to ensure that families across town are not left without a Thanksgiving dinner.
As it has for the past eight years, the family will partner with Suffolk County Police Department Second Precinct, local fire departments and community members to host the Sorrentino Family's Annual PAS Turkey Drive, this time with sights set on distributing more than 2,000 turkeys, which would be a record.
Sorrentino, co-owner of Professional Automotive Service Inc. and a Huntington fire commissioner, operates the drive out of his 627 New York Ave. service shop, which has been in business for 30 years.
He and his family collaborate with Suffolk police, Tri-CYA, Helping Hand Rescue Mission, and Long Island Harvest to gather a list of local families who may be in need of a Thanksgiving dinner.
The Sorrentino family then reaches out to the community to collect both cash donations and frozen turkeys.
This year, the family switched things up a bit, also hosting a fundraiser cocktail party along with its usual push for donations. The cocktail party raised enough money to pay for 1,200 turkeys, Sorrentino explained.
Turkey vouchers will be provided to outreach organizations ahead of time, Sorrentino said. There are already 1,200 vouchers accounted for, and incoming vouchers will be given to Long Island Cares and Western Suffolk BOCES to distribute.
The turkeys will be handed out at 6 p.m on Nov. 20 to those who have a voucher.
The effort began eight years ago when, Sorrentino said, he noticed a need in the Town of Huntington.
For its first year, Sorrentino and volunteers collected 35 turkeys and handed them out off the back of a pickup truck.
The drive has grown ever since, with last year’s edition dishing out 1,840 turkeys. This year, he wants to provide more than 2,000.
Local fire departments also lend a helping hand by distributing the turkeys to families the night of the event.
“It’s really a great way of getting everybody together,” Sorrentino said. “Believe it or not, everybody leaves their differences at the gate. Everybody lends a hand and wants to help. It’s really cool to see.”
While the reach of the cause has grown, so has the event itself. Along with the turkey giveaway, there’s also food, refreshments and cotton candy available during the family-friendly event.
“I have to say, we’ve created a bit of a carnival atmosphere,” Sorrentino said. “It’s funny, what started out as just something off the back of a pickup truck now looks like a carnival.”