Volunteers host holiday meal for LIers in need
Volunteers teamed up on Sunday to feed homeless Long Islanders who otherwise may not have received a Thanksgiving meal.
A holiday feast with turkey, stuffing and more was held at the Holiday Inn Express hotel in Setauket for about two dozen people from the Pax Christi Homeless Shelter.
Officials say Long Island's homeless population is third-highest in the nation for regions of its size. Many of the Island's homeless have stories similar to Richard Afraim, who served in the Marine Corps in the '60s and wears his Bronze Star every day, but found himself living in a shelter.
"You develop a sense of isolation, and you have different traumas in your life, including a medical condition," he says. "It's the same value of all of them adding up. It takes a toll, and it's difficult to seek help."
Hotel owner John Tunis helped organize the meal and arrange transportation. "We're here to support the community because were part of that fabric," he says.
Afraim says it's that kind of support allowed him to finally accept help at the VA Hospital.
Organizers say this is their first year hosting the feast, but they plan on making it an annual tradition.