The 96-hour meal

A full pantry today means thousands of holiday meals this season

The Bowery Mission
Sep 25 · 3 min read

For most families, cooking a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for 8 to 10 guests is an all-day affair that requires a lot of work. But here at The Bowery Mission, Chef Raffaele and his team are preparing 7,000 Thanksgiving Day meals for neighbors experiencing homelessness and hunger! They will begin cooking turkeys the Sunday before Thanksgiving and will keep the ovens hot for the next 96 hours, working around the clock in rotating shifts.

When Thanksgiving Day arrives, the kitchen crew will have cooked 600 whole turkeys, 5,600 pounds of potatoes, 1,800 pounds of mixed vegetables and more holiday favorites.

The estimated 7,000 meals will be served on Thanksgiving Day at our Bowery campus and at partner satellite locations in all five boroughs of New York City and in Newark, NJ. In addition, we will have feasts at The Bowery Mission’s other front-door campuses during Thanksgiving week: our Newark campus on Monday and our Tribeca campus on Tuesday.

While our kitchen leaders know it’s a lot of work, they also know a hot meal served with love can be the first step a neighbor takes toward a new life.


All the months of planning and days of around-the-clock cooking are worth it “to give someone a special Thanksgiving Day and put a smile on their face,” Chef Raffaele shares.


What excites Chef Raffaele the most is that Thanksgiving at The Bowery Mission “is more than a plate of food.” He knows from personal experience “what it’s like to be hungry and what one meal can do for someone’s spirits.” Read his story of renewed hope here.

As we begin to restock the pantry and prepare for this year’s holiday feast, we are trusting God to provide everything we need. Thanksgiving at The Bowery Mission is truly a season-long event that brings compassionate people together. From volunteers who help cook and serve turkey in November, to people who donate food and money now, every person plays an important role in making Thanksgiving Day special!

The result is thousands of hungry New Yorkers enjoying a home-cooked meal in a kind, loving environment. And that meal can be the beginning of more lasting life transformation!

“To see people from different backgrounds come together to serve others is a blessing,” Chef Raffaele shares. “I love being here for Thanksgiving to give a plate of food to someone in need. But we have to fill our pantry now to feed everyone who walks through our Red Doors on Thanksgiving.”


Learn more about Thanksgiving at The Bowery Mission and how you can give back at www.bowery.org/thanksgiving.

The Bowery Mission

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Serving homeless and hungry New Yorkers since the 1870s. Our goal is to be the most effective provider of compassionate care and life transformation in NYC.

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