Sorrentino Turkey Drive Sets New Thanksgiving Giveaway Record

The eighth annual Sorrentino Turkey Drive was a booming success, raising and distributing a record 2,150 turkeys to local families. Pictured, from left, are: Huntington Councilman Eugene Cook; George Schwertl; Huntington Supervisor-elect Chad Lupinacci; Andre Sorrentino, organizer of the event, along with his daughter; and Toys for Hope founder Melissa Doktofsky. Long Islander News Photo/Janee Law

The eighth annual Sorrentino Turkey Drive was a booming success, raising and distributing a record 2,150 turkeys to local families. Pictured, from left, are: Huntington Councilman Eugene Cook; George Schwertl; Huntington Supervisor-elect Chad Lupinacci; Andre Sorrentino, organizer of the event, along with his daughter; and Toys for Hope founder Melissa Doktofsky. Long Islander News Photo/Janee Law

By Janee Law
jlaw@longislandergroup.com

A pair of Thanksgiving-themed food giveaways were a hit with residents, giving out thousands of goods, including turkeys, to local families.

On Monday, the eighth annual Sorrentino Turkey Drive spurred bumper-to-bumper traffic along New York Avenue as a crowd gathered at Professional Automotive Service.

Andre Sorrentino, co-owner of PAS, and also a Huntington fire commissioner, said this year’s turnout was double that of last year and a record number of turkeys were given away. A total of 2,150 turkeys were handed out, exceeding both Sorrentino’s previously-established goal of 2,000 and last year’s total of 1,840.

For next year, Sorrentino has already set his sights on a new record: he wants to dish out between 2,500-3,000 turkeys.

Between the giveaways, there was also music performed by a DJ, and cotton candy, pizza, popcorn, baked goods and more to indulge in.

“It makes my family and myself really happy to be able to do what we’re doing,” Sorrentino said, adding that Suffolk County Police Department, Toys of Hope, local fire departments, businesses and community leaders assisted in organizing the event. “It’s amazing to see the smiles on their faces when they’re leaving with a turkey in their hand.”

Helping Hand Rescue Mission Lends Helping Hand for 53rd Year

Starting Sunday and continuing through Tuesday was the Helping Hand Rescue Mission’s 53rd annual Thanksgiving Food Distribution.

The Huntington Station-based mission gave out turkeys and other Thanksgiving food items to local families, said HHRM president Kimberly Gaines-Gambino.

The mission will also give out nearly 200 bags of groceries to families in need, added Gambino, whose parents Rev. Jim Gaines and Rev. Rose Marie Gaines began the first distribution with just five blankets the year the mission was founded in 1965.

This year’s distribution took place at the mission’s 225 Broadway location in Huntington Station, where 71 families visited on Sunday and 148 families on Monday. There were 140 families scheduled to receive turkeys and food parcels on Tuesday.

"We’re grateful to everyone from our community who has come together to make Thanksgiving 2017, HHRM’s 53rd, truly one of our best ever,” reads a statement posted to the HHRM Facebook page. “The volunteers, young and old alike, worked together tirelessly and cheerfully to help those who came receive their items.”

The mission also assisted in providing 30 turkeys and food items to social workers of Eastern Suffolk BOCES who identified families in their district in dire need; shared 45 turkeys and food parcels on Sunday with a local congregation; and anticipated sharing another 40 turkeys and food items with another outreach center on Tuesday.