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Bringing Thanksgiving to strangers

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Bringing Thanksgiving to strangers
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The countdown to Thanksgiving has begun and plenty of people are hitting the stores for all their Thanksgiving dinner fixings, but as our Elyse Mickalonis tells us, volunteers in Broome County have been spending their time serving up smiles for people in need.

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- It’s a time of year when most people are focused on their own families as they get ready to cook Thanksgiving dinner this week, but volunteers across Binghamton have been using that time to prepare dinners for people they don’t know.

"People care about their neighbors and that's true here in Broome County, here in Binghamton,” said Alan Thornton, Rescue Mission CEO. “For 40 people to come out on a Tuesday evening on the busiest week of Thanksgiving and give up their time, that says a lot about the Binghamton community."

Tuesday night, the Rescue Mission served its annual early Thanksgiving dinner at the United Presbyterian Church in Binghamton. It’s a meal that took a lot of hands to make.

"It takes 40 volunteers, something like 10 to 15 turkeys were cooked for an event like this, hundreds of pounds of food to make sure we have more than enough,” said Thornton.

Volunteers say it’s time well spent.

"You serve them a meal, but then you get to know them personally, the meal goes a long way, but they know someone cares about them,” said Nicholas Wan, a Binghamton resident. “I think that’s the most important thing.”

Across town, dinner was also being served at the Boys and Girls Club, but the food didn’t last long.

"These kids have a lot of energy. They’re on the go from the second they come in to the second they go,” said Roberto Sostre, Boys and Girls Club Unit Director.

In fact, they finished chowing down more than an hour early, but were kind enough to help volunteers clean up.

"They know this is their club, so they take upon themselves to work together,” said Sostre.

Even after the food was gone, the kids were still dishing about it.

"We had turkey, stuffing, mash potatoes and what is that called? Grapes? Cranberries,” said Sunshine Daniels, a Binghamton resident.

Darnell Woodward, a Binghamton resident, added, "And we had some cake and then some pumpkin pie."

And all will agree, it was time well spent, serving food, making friends and giving strangers the chance to have a happy holiday.

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