On Thursday, November 22, the Young Israel of New Rochelle held its annual Thanksgiving dinner meal delivery to the New Rochelle Police Headquarters and all of the city’s fire stations. As in previous years, the shul’s project was organized by Rafi Halpert, Harold Rosengarten and Michael Turek. The menu, supplied by the Scarsdale location of Seasons Kosher, included chicken and turkey as well as an array of side dishes and soft drinks. Two 12-hour shifts of 23 officers are on duty on Thanksgiving day while the fire department runs one 24 hour shift. Community support allowed over 100 public servants to enjoy a few moments of enjoying the holiday.
At the police headquarters, the YINR families were greeted by New Rochelle Police Sergeant Brady. The children were all given NRPD pins as a thank you from the department. The children and adults were also given a tour of the facility, which included viewing the many high-definition security and observation cameras positioned around the city of New Rochelle. Other stops on the tour included the police commissioner’s office, the gym, the special crimes unit and the roll call room.
Sergeant Brady thanked the visitors: “It is very nice to be appreciated and to know and see that people are thinking of us as well as their own families on a day like today,” said Sergeant Brady.
“It is touching to be thought of and to be appreciated,” added Community Service Officer Scleno.
One of the shul members was extremely impressed that an officer who is frequently assigned to protect YINR each Shabbat recognized and greeted each of the families.
Other YINR members visited each of the New Rochelle fire houses. Children were allowed to climb into the fire trucks’ driver seats and learn about the fire fighting equipment. At the main fire station, which also houses the city’s EMS, they stepped into the back of an ambulance that had just returned from an assignment. The firefighters spontaneously gave the kids brief lessons on safety issues, what do when they see smoke and when to call 911.
“It means a lot on a day like today when you can be with family and friends, and that you realize that we go away from our family and friends because we do what we love, we are here to serve the community, the firefighters, the police officers and EMS, all of us together, and it means a lot that all you guys are here; it show us appreciation,” said Ally Lisella, a New Rochelle EMT.
“We love it! It is part of your civic duty, you all come out to help us out, and we know you appreciate us. It means a lot to us and we look forward to it every year,” Fire Lieutenant Eric Auletta added.
The Orgel family participated in this year’s deliveries. “I went to the fire department because I wanted to thank the firefighters for risking their lives to help us, if needed,” explained Ava Orgel, age 10. Emma Orgel, age 8, added, “My favorite thing was learning new things about safety and the importance of dialing 911 in case of an emergency.”
Eighth Grader Chloe Bunim added, “I loved going with my dad and my sisters, and to be part of this wonderful experience. I feel like it’s important because the firemen/ policemen are away from their families on the holiday, and I like to know they can count on the food even if they are off on so many emergencies. I was really impressed how nice they were and how happy they were to see us. It was also so much fun going on the fire truck. Also, it was nice to see the people who take care of us and protect us.”
The YINR community felt that this event is one of its most important community outreach activities and is an excellent way to demonstrate hakarat hatov to the individuals who have the responsibility of keeping the neighborhood safe.
By Judy Berger