G.R.I.O.T. and Greens

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G.R.I.O.T. and Greens

Story and photos by Dominique Williams

They served warm plates – and a jam as well.

The New York City Mission Society opened the doors of its Minisink Townhouse headquarters this past Tues., Nov. 17th to serve over 200 guests a full Thanksgiving meal sponsored by Whole Foods and Vita Coco.

Over 200 guests enjoyed dinner.

Over 200 guests enjoyed dinner.

It was the organization’s 12th Annual Community Dinner at the townhouse on 135th Street and Malcolm X Boulevard, where it’s been housed for the past half-century.

Volunteers in bright green aprons stood at various stations offering visitors heaping portions of turkey, potatoes and salad, as well as pumpkin and apple pies. The servers included board members, Young Professionals Society members, Kohl’s corporate volunteers, staff, community members, and organization alumni.

The event was underwritten by Mission Society board members Jean Shafiroff and Jay Moorhead.

“[This is] what Thanksgiving is about,” said Moorhead, who has worked with the organization for more than 30 years. “It’s a gratifying and it’s a wonderful thing to do.”

The Mission Society also continued its tradition of distributing turkeys to program participants in advance of Thanksgiving. They were distributed the day before, on Wed., Nov. 18th.

Mission Society President Elsie McCabe noted that both events were emblematic of the organization’s work to answer directly to residents’ needs.

“Our mission has been and always will be to contribute to the well-being of our community,” she said. “We value kindness, compassion, dignity, respect and excellence. It’s why – as you look around this room – you will see so many familiar faces – people for whom this is not a job, but a calling.”

The sponsors.

The sponsors.

Also on the menu was a special performance by student participants in the musical education program Global Rhythms in Our Tribe (G.R.I.O.T).

Created in collaboration with the Afro-Latin Jazz Alliance and founded by Grammy Award-winning pianist, composer, and educator Arturo O’Farrill, G.R.I.O.T. seek to combine musical instruction and academic achievement.

It is one of the many free programs offered to more than 13,000 children and families by Minisink.

As she watched the performers on the stage, and chatted with guests, Thompson was beaming.

“Tonight is about family and community,” she said.

For more information, please visit www.missionsociety.org or call 212.674.3500.