03/28/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Giving, Generosity and Thanks

Last year, at Thanksgiving time, we were given an incredible opportunity. Beth Hauptle
from Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) asked us to document an event in which her organization was involved in New York City.

Animal Welfare Approved is a non-profit organization that goes out into the field and verifies the conditions under which a farm's animals are being raised. Earning an approval from AWA means the animal was raised humanely and in a sustainable way, on a family farm, with animal welfare at the core of their program. To quote Robert Kennedy, Jr., "Animal Welfare Approved is the gold standard for how animals should be taken care of."

AWA teamed with The Community Kitchen at the Food Bank for New York City, Heritage Foods USA, the Greenmarket of New York City and The Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch located near Lindsborg, Kansas to provide a unique Thanksgiving feast.

On Wednesday, November 26, 2008, over eight hundred clients of the Food Bank were fed a hot, delicious Thanksgiving banquet. The meal featured donated locally grown, organic vegetables and humanely-raised, heritage turkeys from the aforementioned Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch.

Work had begun two days earlier with Executive Chef Zak Palaccio (known for his NYC restaurants, Fatty Crab and 5 Ninth) and Executive Chef David Schuttenberg (Cabrito) helming a troop of unpaid volunteers generously donating their time. The team peeled vegetables, 'pre-roasted' the turkeys and set the stage for what was a genuine, shared experience.

Nathan Gross, Head Chef at the Food Bank, coordinated the workflow in the kitchen as he spoke to us about the people enjoying the meal he helped prepare.

"These folks can't afford to go to a good restaurant, but there is no reason we can't bring a good restaurant to them. They say to me, 'Chef, this is delicious.' That's all the thanks I need."

It never ceases to amaze us how generous food people are with their time, talent and energy. To learn more about this special day and the amazing people who made it possible, click on the video below.

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