Equinox hosts in-person meal as other organizations pitch in to deliver meals

Equinox serves Thanksgiving meal

The organization that assists people experiencing homelessness, domestic violence and addiction held an in-person meal tonight at First Presbyterian church in Albany.

This year brought big changes to Equinox’s Thanksgiving tradition. We’ve been reporting that the organization that provides support for mental health, people experiencing homelessness, domestic violence survivors and people living with substance use disorders would only be providing sit-down and takeout meals instead of its delivery operation.

People came together for an in-person meal Wednesday at First Presbyterian Church in Albany, the tradition’s first year back since the pandemic.  

“I think it means a lot. And I think the fact that Equinox has been doing this for so many years, just giving back to the community, helping some people that perhaps wouldn’t have a thanksgiving meal to themselves,” said David Meyers, an Equinox board member.

Held a day early this year because of other non-profit dinners Thursday, Equinox served around 500 meals plus 1,000 takeout meals. This year, meals came from 2Shea Catering, in place of the usual army of volunteer cooks who would prepare a meal at the Empire State Plaza.

“Even though COVID we have vaccines and all that, to try to do that again I think people are very skittish and concerned so we took that into consideration,” said Christina Rajotte, Chief Development Officer for Equinox and Whitney Young Health.

NewsChannel 13 has been reporting that Equinox is not delivering meals this year. The organization said that was due in part to the fact that many of its COVID-era restaurant partners were planning on full capacity, making it impossible to produce more meals for Equinox.

“So it was nice to know that Equinox could share in the responsibility of providing Thanksgiving meals. So it wasn’t just Equinox, but many community groups that came up to the plate and helped,” Rajotte said.

Watervliet and other municipalities pitched in to help make sure everyone was fed.

Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple greatly increased his department’s operation to serve around 2,400 meals. But he worried that number wasn’t close to the estimated 10,000 meals Equinox once delivered.

Rajotte said Equinox made sure people were covered.

“We haven’t left anyone behind. We provided meals to more than just Albany County, we reached out to other counties within a 60-mile radius of Albany so again, reaching out to some of those communities to make sure they had other alternatives,” she said.

Equinox says this is a transitional year, and it’s possible delivery could return.