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E. Elmhurst helps neighbors

IS 230 Principal Sharon Terry (l.-r.), parent coordinator Enrique Salazar, City Councilman Daniel Dromm and Queens auto dealer Howard Koeppel were some of the many who helped needy families get frozen turkeys for Thanksgiving. Photo courtesy Daniel Dromm
TimesLedger Newspapers

In what has become a regular Thanksgiving tradition in northwestern Queens, several elected officials gave frozen turkeys to needy neighborhood families last week, but state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) set aside some for Far Rockaway.

“It went well,” Peralta said. “Dozens upon dozens of not-for-profit organizations and [parent-teacher associations] and community folks that actually needed turkeys showed up.”

The senator’s giveaway was one of many in western Queens for the holiday season. City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) teamed up with auto dealer Howard Koeppel to give away 50 turkeys at IS 230, at 73-10 34th Ave. in Jackson Heights last week.

“I am once again grateful for Mr. Koeppel’s generosity and his commitment to giving something back to our community, especially during this time of year,” Dromm said in a statement.

In Astoria, the Greek-American Homeowners Association gave out 526 frozen turkeys and 2,000 meals between their home deliveries and 23rd annual Thanksgiving lunch last Thursday. Participants included Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria), Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) and state Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria), as well as about 300 volunteers.

The East River Development Alliance, which provides assistance to public housing residents in western Queens, also held its annual distribution of frozen turkeys to residents this year. ERDA spokesman Jeremy Reiss said the nonprofit gave out 400 turkeys — 145 to Astoria Houses residents, 140 to Queensbridge Houses residents, 75 to Ravenswood Houses residents and 40 to Woodside Houses residents.

Some of the same officials and organizations have been participating in the ongoing relief effort for those still suffering in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, which decimated parts of the Rockaways and southwest Queens last month. Vallone’s office has acted as a drop-off point for donations and Reiss said ERDA has been working to coordinate service delivery for New York City Housing Authority residents in the region.

“Basically just ensuring that people in NYCHA get access to whatever they need,” Reiss said.

Peralta rounded up some turkeys for the region. His drive distributed 478 turkeys: 250 given through online grocer Fresh Direct, 104 each through public health insurance program Health Plus and local supermarket chain Trade Fair and 20 from supermarket chain Food Bazaar.

The turkeys went to First Baptist Church, at 100-10 Astoria Blvd. in East Elmhurst; the immigration advocacy group Make the Road New York; community organization Woodside on the Move; and the Corona Senior Center, at 108-74 Roosevelt Ave. Of the 478 turkeys, Peralta gave 24 to Far Rockaway through Sen. Malcolm Smith’s (D-St. Albans) office.

“It really meant a lot more this year because those people who were affected by Sandy got a little bit of help,” Peralta said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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