Knowing this Thanksgiving might be a tough one for many, the owner of Saffron Restaurant in Queens set out to make the holiday a happy one for New Yorkers affected by Hurricane Sandy by offering them a free meal. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.
Donny Korpi's Howard Beach home was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.
"My refrigerator was floating and it was really, it was a race to try to save whatever I could," he said. "I'm a musician, so the first thing I did was grab my guitars, so thank God those are OK, but aside from that stuff, I really wasn't able to save much more."
Korpi is still in shock and trying to put the pieces of his life together. He didn't even give Thanksgiving a thought.
"There is no holiday in my mind," he said.
But Korpi learned a restaurant in the neighborhood was offering a bit of cheer to people affected by the storm.
"We're celebrating Thanksgiving, especially for those that need it, that don't have a place to eat, to celebrate Thanksgiving, and we're here open for free," said Herbert Duarte, the owner of Saffron Restaurant.
Turkey, pork, stuffing, sweet potatoes and more were on the menu. A meal normally costs $25, but Robbie Mahato, one of Duarte's regular customers, contributed $1,200 to help shoulder the cost of providing the meals free of charge.
"I was looking for somewhere to give something, and I wanted to see what I was doing and who I was giving it to," Mahato said. "So I met Duarte and told him 'Let's feed the people around here for Thanksgiving.'"
"I hear every single day how bad they are," Duarte said. "They don't have a place to stay. They don't have electricity. They don't have a home sometimes. This is something that I want to give back to the public."
The gesture brought a smile to Korpi's face, his first all day.
"If it wasn't for this, I wouldn't have and turkey," he said. "I wasn't looking forward to this."
Korpi said the generosity of friends and local business owners has helped him through this tough time. So on Thanksgiving Day, he was thankful for a bit of relief and a momentary distraction from all that he's lost.