Community is Everything: Urban Upbound’s Annual Turkey Distribution

Urban Upbound NYC
3 min readNov 29, 2022
Photo from Ravenswood Houses Turkey Distribution — Photo Credit: Urban Upbound

This Thanksgiving, Urban Upbound was able to help distribute over 1,000 turkeys across the various communities we service thanks to the generosity of Rise, Light & Power, Share 4 Life Foundation, Queens Defenders, and Office of the Queens Borough President, with the help of many of our non-profit partners and the local Tenant Associations. Our community was able to come together to ensure every family had food on their table this Thanksgiving.

Amongst the many turkey recipients, is a single mother of three from Ravenswood Houses who shares what this year’s turkey distribution means to her and her family.

My kids have been coming home from school talking about Thanksgiving all week and asking if we’d be having a turkey dinner on Thursday. I went to the grocery store to buy a turkey and was disappointed to see it was not in my budget this year. Believe it or not, I saved little by little over the past two months to be able to provide a nice meal for my family. I actually got choked up in the store as I put items back on the shelf that I couldn’t afford.

When you don’t have a lot, you learn to make do with what you have. There’s been years we’ve had pasta and jar sauce, or even chicken noodle soup for Thanksgiving. I’ve always tried to make it seem exciting, or that it was a special and unique thing our family did differently. For those who have never struggled with poverty, you may not realize that having a turkey on Thanksgiving is so much more than a meal. It’s weeks of stress leading up to the holidays with sudden bursts of disappointment when small things, like a turkey, remind you that you are struggling to provide for your family. It’s a gut wrenching feeling having to explain to your crying six year old that we won’t be having a turkey like his friends, or like in the books they read at school.

The turkey on our table this year is a sign that we have not been forgotten, and there is a community who cares about us. The turkey reminds me and my children that there is still good in this crazy world and people who care. I can’t wait to see the look on my kid’s face when I come home with a full Turkey. I will be sure to teach them the true meaning of being thankful. Thank you to anyone and everyone who made this possible. We are grateful for you this year!

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Urban Upbound NYC

A collection of stories around NYC’s public housing communities curated by Urban Upbound, a non-profit organization with a mission to break cycles of poverty.