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Good Holiday News For Westchester's Hungry: Gobble, Gooble, 5,000 Times

Deputy County Exec. Kevin Plunkett, Arlene Putterman of Stop & Shop, Greg Werlinich & Ellen Lynch from the Food Bank for Westchester; Jeanne Blum from Coalition for the Hungry & Homeless; Food Bank Chairman Rick Rako & Legislator Michael Smith. Photo Credit: Provided
Deputy County Executive Kevin Plunkett, waving a personal check, said he's donating money "so those two (turkey) babies down there would be on everybody's table." Photo Credit: Jon Craig
Ellen Lynch, executive director of the Food Bank for Westchester thanks Plunkett. Photo Credit: Jon Craig
Arlene Putterman, public & community relations manager at Stop & Shop, center, helps unload frozen turkeys for the holiday drive. Photo Credit: Jon Craig

ELMSFORD, N.Y. -- If you or your family may go hungry during the holidays -- Thanksgiving is just five weeks away -- help is on the way.

The Food Bank for Westchester kicked off its second annual Turkey Drive Wednesday at its distribution center off of Route 9A. This year’s goal is to raise enough money for 5,000 turkeys for families in need.

Arlene Putterman, public relations manager for Stop & Shop brought two frozen turkeys, pledged 500 more and said her supermarkets will soon collect shopper donations for nine "trimmings" to go along with the turkeys. "We have a lot on our plate, no pun intended,'' Putterman said. "It is a gift of love and of hope and of promise."

Deputy Westchester County Executive Kevin Plunkett plucked a personal check from his pocket to buy more turkeys for the needy.

That was welcome news for Ellen Lynch, executive director of the Food Bank for Westchester, who said one of every five county residents is hungry or at risk of being hungry. "As the holidays are coming, and Thanksgiving in has this heartfelt place for everyone,'' Lynch said.

The drive is not just about raising money so everyone has a turkey at their table next month, but raising awareness about hunger, she said.

The Food Bank is experiencing unprecedented demand for its services. “The need is real," Lynch said. "Even though the campaign just started, it’s off to a good start. We have already brought in three truckloads of turkeys this year, which is approximately 120,000 pounds.”

Greg Werlinich, a board member at the Food Bank for Westchester, said donations can be made on cellphones by texting FB4W to the number 88500.

A donation of just $25 provides turkeys for two families. Last year, the Food Bank exceeded its goal and distributed more than 4,000 turkeys To donate to the Food Bank for Westchester’s Turkey Drive, you can also visit

Food Bank Board Chairman Rick Rakow added, “On Thanksgiving, most families sit down for a family feast.  But there are thousands of people in our county who face a daily struggle to put just a little food on the table."

Others at Wednesday's kickoff included: Jeanne Blum, executive director at Westchester Coalition for the Hungry and Homeless; the Rev. Reginald Guerreier and Wilma Joseph of Beulah Church in Mount Vernon; Sheridan Denfield of the Junior League of Bronxville; Samantha Johns of the Junior League of Northern Westchester, and representatives from Berkeley College, New York Presbyterian and the Center for Autism.

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