Thousands of volunteers 'step up to the plate' for annual Plaza tradition

Bob Benson of Kinderhook has the right hat on Thanksgiving morning ahead of the Equinox delivery drive. Bob Benson of Kinderhook has the right hat on Thanksgiving morning ahead of the Equinox delivery drive. | Photo: WNYT.

November 22, 2018 12:36 PM

ALBANY – Wearing her homemade turkey-logoed shirt complete with googly eyes and matching gobbler barrettes, Alexandra Neaton, 3, of Averill Park was in the spirit. So was her one-year old sister Vivian in a turkey printed skirt.

"We're very fortunate and we like to give back pretty much like everybody else here and do what we can,” said mom Amanda Neaton, the seamstress. “This is just something small that we can do. It's important to get the girls involved in volunteering and show them how help others who maybe aren't as lucky as we are.”


Nearly 4,000 volunteers spend the week carving, mashing, chopping and then packing up the 49th annual meal. Most are delivered. The rest are served at a sit-down dinner at the First Presbyterian Church in Albany on Thanksgiving.

"This becomes a family tradition for many or even for individuals,” said Christina Rajotte of Equinox. “It's a tradition for them and it's wonderful to see even some of the families they are now grown kids with kids of their own."

Equinox provides services to youth and adults impacted by domestic violence, substance abuse, mental health issues, homelessness and others affected by poverty and violence, Rajotte said.

Many people dressed for the occasion with special headgear, costumes and other festive outfits before heading home to their own meal. Amy and Patrick Hauptli of Rotterdam were first-timers joining their neighbor Miriam Giller, back for a third year.

"It's a great atmosphere, it really is,” said Amy.

Nearly 300 businesses donated time or goods including Price Chopper/Market 32 with the 824 turkeys (12,000 lbs) and Hannaford with 1,200 pies and the meal tins.

Said Rajotte: "We couldn't do it with out this generous and caring community. Throughout the year they step up to the plate to support our mission."


WNYT Staff

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