Organizer and director Joanna Richards bags a Thanksgiving turkey for...

Organizer and director Joanna Richards bags a Thanksgiving turkey for distribution at Harvest for the World in Roosevelt. (Nov. 23, 2010) Credit: Newsday/Sally Morrow

The promise of a hearty Thanksgiving was looking like just another day of disappointment for some of the poorest of the poor in Roosevelt Tuesday.

Hundreds of the impoverished and working poor were expected to begin lining up at the headquarters of Harvest For The World in Roosevelt at about 4 p.m. for the annual free Thanksgiving turkey giveaway. But a few hours earlier, the organization's founding director said she got the worst possible news.

"We were supposed to get 550 turkeys from Island Harvest," Joanna Bell-Richards said Tuesday. "We were promised. This morning when we went there to get them, they said they had none."

Harvest for the World, a local soup kitchen / food pantry, had received turkeys to distribute in past years from Island Harvest in Mineola, a large hunger relief organization. But, Bell-Richards said she was told because of difficult economic times and rising cost of turkeys, Island Harvest had none to give them this year.

Officials with Island Harvest could not be reached for comment last night.

"I was in tears," Bell-Richards said. She began running in and out of food stores, getting some turkey donations from businesses such as Waldbaum's in East Meadow and Compare Foods in Freeport. But at Western Beef in Roosevelt, she was luckiest.

Ralph Sabatini, meat manager for the chain, was at that location while Bell-Richards was there. "She started crying," he said. " 'OK. Give her another 10 . . . OK, give her another 10' . . . The tears really worked on me . . . 'OK, give her another 10.' " At least 130 turkeys were donated from Western Beef, and the total donated, more than 300, was just enough. "We didn't turn anybody away. . . . Happy Thanksgiving," Bell-Richards said.

Latest videos

Newsday LogoDON'T MISS THIS LIMITED-TIME OFFER1 5 months for only $1Save on Unlimited Digital Access