Just in time for Thanksgiving, the 10th annual Sorrentino turkey drive handed out over 3,000 turkeys to Huntington families in need.
Andre Sorrentino and his family have hosted the giveaway for a decade and it has grown in ways they never would have imagined. When he first began the event in 2009, he started with just 35 turkeys out of a flatbed truck. Each year it grew more and more, but this week’s line of people wrapped completely around the block.
“We’re here to support the community,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about.”
The drive was just two hours long on Monday night, but members from the whole community came down to Sorrentino’s shop to help out, including the Suffolk County Police Department’s 2nd Precinct and local elected officials.
“I think that it’s a great thing he and his crew do here,” Inspector William Scrima said.
Some of the officers helped families cross the busy street of New York Avenue, while others handed out bags of goods to the people who earned a voucher. Scrima added that many of the recipients of Monday’s event were offered a voucher based on their low-income and need.
“The Sorrentino family has been doing this for over a decade,” Huntington Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci, said. “What they are doing here shows a sense of community and family – and that is what the town of Huntington is all about.”
Donations from Toys of Hope gave out other necessities like soap, while Johnny D’s Pizza handed out food to those waiting in line. A DJ played music while kids waiting with their parents danced with their friends.
“It’s hard enough waiting for a turkey in the cold,” Sorrentino said. “We might as well make it fun.”
Fifty soccer players from the Huntington Inter FC volunteered their time and helped unload the trucks. The group of kids, fourth through sixth graders, created an assembly line to hand out the bags of goods. “They love hanging out together,” Jose Alfaro, director of the club, said. “But they’re so happy to help out the community.”
However, a local soccer club wasn’t not the only group of kids excited to make a difference. Mia Sorrentino, Andre’s 11-year-old daughter, said she’d like to keep up her family’s tradition when she grows up.
“I’m so proud of my dad and I support everything he does,” she said. “And I love seeing the people’s smiling faces when we’re helping them out.”