NEW YORK — Luciel Boles-Wilson was dressed to the nines — and grateful to begin her day in Harlem at the National Action Network’s annual Thanksgiving celebration.
“I just want to give thanks to God, because he allowed me to live to 74," said Boles-Wilson, who lives in the Bronx. "Unfortunately, everyone in my family died. But I give thanks, because it’s a way for me to give and receive. So today, I’m on the receiving end, because I give every day."
What You Need To Know
- Politicians rolled up their sleeves and distributed hundreds of meals-to-go at the National Action Network headquarters in Harlem on Thanksgiving Day
- The Encore Community Services senior center celebrated with a sit-down luncheon in Midtown
- The center has been closed for much of 2020-2021 due to the pandemic
- On the Upper East Side, hundreds of volunteers with Goddard Riverside and the Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center distributed thousands of meals
Boles-Wilson is one of hundreds who stopped by to take home a meal on Thursday. They were met with familiar faces: the Rev. Al Sharpton, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Mayor-elect Eric Adams all volunteered their time to help hand out meals.
“You look at a lot of people here volunteering. They are going through their own troubles and strife," Adams said. "But they know that part of being healed is to go out and see those who are in need."
In Midtown, Encore Community Services celebrated with a Thanksgiving lunch for seniors. Between a seated lunch, home-delivered meals and dinners-to-go, nearly 600 meals were provided.
The senior center was closed for most of this year and last year due to the pandemic. Staff members said it was good to be back.
And on the Upper East Side, hundreds of volunteers with Goddard Riverside and the Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center distributed thousands of meals with all the traditional trimmings, fighting a food insecurity crisis faced by many New Yorkers 365 days a year.
Back in Harlem, Boles-Wilson shared some words of wisdom, meant particularly for families who were apart this year on Thanksgiving.
“They need to reach out and call someone. Send somebody a paper letter," she said. "Email is wonderful, but there’s nothing like you go home, and open your mailbox, and see a letter from family and friends."
It's a way to show you’re thankful — even if miles apart.