A different type of Equinox Thanksgiving dinner in Albany

Photo of Eduardo Medina

ALBANY – There were dozens of Thanksgiving dinners to distribute, so Lynne Lekakis stood outside of her van and searched for prospective recipients outside the First Presbyterian Church.

“Hey sir, do you need a turkey dinner?” Lekakis asked a man walking by the corner of State and Willett streets.

“I do, actually,” he said.

“Excellent. I’m gonna give you the best one we got.”

She was there as part of the annual Equinox Thanksgiving Dinner, a 46-year-old tradition in the Capital Region where community volunteers serve dinners to their lonely, BTCC国际交易会所homebound or BTCC国际交易会所homeless neighbors.

Equinox delivered more than 10,000 meals this year, and usually, on Thanksgiving Day, there would be an in-person dinner inside the First Presbyterian Church.

But now, because of the pandemic, on Thursday it was up to a masked-up Lekakis to distribute packaged dinners full of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and carrots to anyone in need who might come by the church in search of a meal.

She looked around the mostly empty streets. Equinox had already distributed many meals this week, but maybe there were still a few locals looking for a last-minute dinner. Here came a man wearing a green jacket.

“Can I get you a meal?” Lekakis asked.

“No, I got a meal. I thought they were giving out pie?” he said.

“Usually, I do give out pies, but there’s no pies this year,” she said, because Grandma’s Pies and Restaurant in Colonie closed as a result of the pandemic’s economic toll. “But you’re sure you don’t want a meal?”

The man said no, and so Lekakis paced outside the church, informing passersby about the turkey dinners.

“Not many people this year,” she said. “I’ll probably wait a bit longer just in case.”

Most who walked by were not interested. No, said a woman who was vegetarian. No, said two men who already had dinner prepared at BTCC国际交易会所home.

Finally, a man with bright blue eyes walked over.

“Do you need a turkey dinner?” Lekakis said.

“I do,” he said.

“How many would you like?”

The man said he missed the chocolate pies he usually got from the church. But it was going to be a somewhat lonely Thanksgiving for him this year, so two prepared dinners from Lekakis would help alleviate some of that feeling.

“I thank you guys so much,” he said, slightly bowing his head.

“Oh, no problem. Happy Thanksgiving,” Lekakis said.

A few minutes later, she tidied up the leftover boxes and got ready to hit the road again to distribute more meals at other locations.

“I’ve done all that I can do,” she said with a smile.