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Bowery Mission Prepares For Busiest Day Of The Year

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As New Yorkers get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving, the Bowery Mission, which serves the poor and homeless, is bracing for its busiest day of the year. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.

They're chopping up the sweet potatoes at the Bowery Mission, and whipping them, too. The peas and carrots are ready to go, and so are the turkeys.

"We're talking about 500 turkeys, 5,000 pounds of potatoes, all the stuffing that you can imagine," said James Macklin, director of outreach for the Bowery Mission. "And we want to serve people like you're serving a king."

If you thought that lines were long Wednesday, just wait until Thursday.

"We serve approximately 1,000 meals every day, but Thanksgiving is our pride and joy," Macklin said.

Volunteers and staffers are at work preparing Thursday's feast, when the mission will serve close to 7,000 Thanksgiving meals to hungry and hurting New Yorkers.

"Just by serving the meals, you're actually showing people that there is people who care, who take the time out of their busy schedule to serve me," said Delon Ali, a chef at the Bowery Mission.

Those who rely on the mission for help say it's a special day.

"The food here is delicious," said Orlando Cahill, a resident at the mission. "I mean, other than my mom's, I'd rather be here. But I can't be at my mother's, so this is my family right now."

The mission is about much more than food. Some volunteers came up from North Carolina to help pack socks, hats and toiletries into "blessing bags" given to those who drop by on Thursday.

The mission also helps down-on-their-luck New Yorkers by providing them with shelter and counseling. William Rogan said that he came here after struggling with drugs and alcohol for 30 years.

"I'm thankful for just about everything that's in my life right now," Rogan said. "I lost a lot of things due to my problems that I had in my life, and everything slowly but surely is coming back."

Those who work and volunteer at the mission said that the job has its rewards in the thanks that they get every day.

"We're privileged to have the opportunity to serve the needy, the broken, the homeless," Ali said.

It's a job they've been carrying out on the Bowery proudly since 1879.

While the Bowery Mission is booked with volunteers for Thanksgiving Day, they're always looking for help year-round, as well as donations, which can be made at bowery.org

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