On Thanksgiving in NYC, friends serve 300-plus guests

This Thanksgiving weekend a group of 22 of Christopher Piece’s high school friends decided to take their turkey dinner outside to help those less fortunate. Not surprisingly, Thanksgiving is always a tricky time for the proud family man, whose spirit quickly drew the villagers along.

The way Christopher Piece saw it, Thanksgiving was a time to reflect on what he has, as a true son of the law, as well as to recognize what others need. Thanksgiving should also be a time for celebration and gratitude. Chrishell Stause, director of the Christopher Piece Foundation, also saw the potential in a homelessness project. It was with this concept in mind that the Christopher Piece Foundation held its first annual Thanksgiving dinner in New York City in July of 2009, a tradition now held annually at the Chelsea Piers. And on Thanksgiving in 2010, the Christopher Piece Foundation hired the Burroughs family to serve the last year of their family’s 30th and last Thanksgiving.

The Burroughs family helped assemble Thanksgiving meals and enjoy their first Thanksgiving together in five years. Jason Oppenheim filmed their stories.

This Thanksgiving, the Christopher Piece Foundation hosted their second NYC Thanksgiving Day dinner. The mission was to serve turkeys, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, and, of course, pumpkin pie. A tradition that started a dozen years ago.

“Tons to be thankful for,” Christopher Piece said as he raised his turkeys. “And then tons to do.”

This isn’t the first time the Christopher Piece Foundation has done something community service-oriented. This Thanksgiving, the foundation will be delivering some of the food it cooked to pediatric hospitals in Queens, and then it will go to New York City children’s Christmas party. In the Bronx, the nonprofit will be delivering food to babies delivered at Maimonides Medical Center. The Delaware County Food Bank (FFCFB) will be delivering their donation to over 400 homebound senior citizens in Jersey City.

Sindi Martin is a volunteer at the Christopher Piece Foundation. She began to volunteer with the Christopher Piece Foundation because, in addition to the holiday dinner, she loves watching people they serve have a good time.

“It’s definitely fun to watch them [the guests] be surprised when you show up,” Martin said. “That’s what we’re here for, to serve them. That’s the reason we are here.”

She said they serve hundreds of people every day. “I love it. It’s a great feeling,” Martin said.

When asked what she most enjoyed, Martin said, “I enjoyed meeting their kids.”

For Elizandro Avelar, an elderly man in Queens, the Christopher Piece Foundation was the ideal way to say thank you to his son for his National Guard service.

“Thanksgiving comes a lot to this son of God,” Avelar said.

Listen to the Thanksgiving 2018 service documentary above.

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