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Generosity Ensures Complete Thanksgiving for Springs Families

One Amagansett resident answers the call and donates 25 turkeys; Others donate money and time in the holiday spirit.

The Thanksgiving meals for 65 Springs families will be complete with stuffing, cranberry sauce, squash and a whole turkey, thanks to those who donated items and those who volunteered their time and money in the days leading up to the holiday.

Just a few days ago, the Springs Food Pantry found itself 25 turkeys short. Larry Siedlick, who lives one hamlet over in Amagansett, answered the call and pledged the money to cover the cost of over two dozen turkeys.

"No one should go hungry this holiday season," Siedlick said in an email to East Hampton Patch.

Thanksgiving came earlier than usual this year, adding to the difficulty of getting donations after Superstorm Sandy, "A lot of stuff — and I get it — went west," said Holly Wheaton, a co-director of the food pantry, but it left volunteers scrambling to fill the need at home. "We still want our residents to have Thanksgiving dinner."

Joshua Brussells, a volunteer with the food pantry, coordinated with Siedlick, who was out of town helping his daughter, who lost her house in Long Beach to floods during the hurricane. "I've been helping her with salvage and rebuilding. It's really devastated there. So I guess this is the kind of situation that inspires all of us to step up and help our neighbors," Siedlick said.

Brussells purchased the Butterball and Shady Brook turkeys at Waldbaum's Supermarket in East Hampton and dropped them off at the Springs Community Presbyterian Church on Wednesday afternoon, a few hours before the patrons would come by and pick up their food supplies for the week. "He said get whatever you need," Brussells said.

The bill came to about $454. Brussells put $150 toward that from donations he received from students and staff at East Hampton High School, where he works as a biology teacher and coach. He also dropped off some greens from the high school's community garden.

Wheaton said she was "escatic" when she heard Siedlick had offered to buy the 25 turkeys. "We'd have to buy them. Our fundraising hasn't started yet for the year," she said.

The pantry spends $2,000 per week feeding about 65 families, 90 percent of which have children, she said.

The generosity of others also went into making Thanksgiving possible for these families. The church congregation made donations, One Stop Market in East Hampton donated several turkeys, Tom Talmage donated dozens of gourds, and the food pantry was one of the recipients of the Harvest Food Drive, held at the East Hampton Middle School on Saturday to gather donations for all the food pantries in the Town of East Hampton.

As volunteers, such as Pamela Bicket, Ethel Pulaski Dru Raley, and Helen Martin (who was wearing a handmade pin that looks like a turkey that one of the children at the food pantry gave her last Thanksgiving), sorted through canned goods and packed bags, more donations came rolling in — including a $300 check from Joseph Potter that Brussell found in his mailbox.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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