Albany County sheriff prepares for impact of loss of Equinox meal deliveries
Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple was surprised to hear the news that Equinox will not be delivering Thanksgiving meals this year. He got on the phone right away, knowing that that would probably mean his meal numbers will go up.
“[Tuesday], when I got wind about Equinox, I’m like, ‘Wow, our numbers are probably going to go up a bit,” said the sheriff. “But I mean, that’s a big number. I mean, they were preparing roughly 10,000 meals and hundreds of volunteers were delivering them all over the Capital District,” Apple said.
Equinox will not be delivering meals this year, citing different factors including logistical challenges, staffing, and inflation.
Their chief development officer said many other meal options have also become available, like the Albany County sheriff’s Thanksgiving deliveries.
Apple has done his holiday operation for three years. They did close to 1,000 meals last year. It’s just him, his staff, and department prepping, cooking, and assembling.
“I enjoy cooking it and preparing it and I especially enjoy when everybody afterward calls and says, ‘Hey, thank you. Your staff was great, and the meal was great,'” Apple said.
He calls it a really good team-building experience. They deliver by ambulance, sheriff’s car, or personal car.
His delivery list comes from their Persons in Need Registry, resource centers, and community leaders.
“Some places like Coeymans, they ask me for roughly 100 meals for their seniors. So we just deliver them in bulk, 100 meals, and they disseminate them to their seniors down there. Different municipalities do something similar,” said Apple. “Some we deliver right to their house.”
The sheriff worries about how many people might be left out with Equinox deliveries gone.
He’s already gotten more turkey. Now he has about 1,500 pounds of turkey breast.
“Our purpose is to help those who really need it, and that’s why we usually hover around a thousand, take care of the folks that can’t afford to buy a meal, can’t get out to get a meal – those are the folks we key on.”
“I don’t know, we’ll see what happens. But again, I have no issue cooking some additional meals, but I certainly can’t fill the Equinox void. There’s going to have to be other people stepping up out there. But I’m sure we’ll get a couple thousand meals out to those who need them.”