On Friday, November 17, dozens of children will board a vibrant, graffiti-adorned school bus in Montauk to deliver turkeys to those in need. The turkey drive, now in its fourth year, is organized by the Clamshell Foundation and Camp SoulGrow, and over 100 turkeys will be donated to community members and families across eastern Long Island.
This year’s drive will be held in memory of Rossetti Perchik, the late founder of the Clamshell Foundation. The idea for this local turkey drive was conceived, in part, by Camp SoulGrow’s founder London Rosiere, a New Orleans native who permanently moved to Montauk in 2014. As a giver and philanthropist – and recent New York transplant without family nearby – it only seemed natural for Rosiere to reach out to Perchick and offer a helping hand during the holiday season. The first annual drive kicked off with Rosiere delivering turkeys with her personal car.
“We’ve been continuing this in his honor, he loved the fact that the Clamshell Foundation was able to gather the turkeys, he loved giving the kids the gift of giving, the chance to see the actual impact they’re having on these families,” said Rosiere. “It’s a humbling experience for them; it raises their self-esteem because they are able to see that they can help out others.”
The bus will leave Montauk at 11:40 a.m. and head to IGA in Amagansett, where Camp SoulGrow will meet up with the Clamshell Foundation and begin making stops at community centers, churches, local food pantries, fire departments, and other locales. The turkeys delivered are frozen turkey breasts pressed into the shape of a turkey, as many of the recipients do not have ovens that can accommodate a whole turkey.
When asked if a particular moment stood out among past turkey drives, Rosiere relayed, “It’s their smiles and me being able to watch them open their minds and realize how fortunate they are and how much they’re positively affecting other families just by being of service and caring.” The event is an extension of some of the values Camp SoulGrow works to cultivate and nurture with its campers: compassion, giving, leadership, community service, and open-mindedness.
Rosiere also recalled the heart-warming sight of the children struggling to lift a gargantuan turkey “as big as they are” up to a pastor’s arms. The event gives them the gift of giving and the chance to feel like “heroes” in their community.
While all the turkeys donated are to be collected from a specific vendor, one can still give back in other ways, something of which Rosiere is a big proponent. “You can give back to your communities in the smallest ways, from sitting at home behind your computer” to volunteering for any of Camp SoulGrow’s classes, she suggests. Or, one can go big like Rosiere, who has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and is preparing to run her 17 marathon later this month in Philadelphia to raise money and awareness for the camp. Either way, help and support can be provided in big and small gestures, and Camp SoulGrow welcomes any and all support to keep its children’s programs running.
Additionally, Camp SoulGrow and the Clamshell Foundation are hosting Presents for Puerto Rico, a hurricane relief holiday toy drive. Items can be dropped off at the Camp SoulGrow Studio (7 The Plaza, Montauk) from Thursday, November 9 through Saturday, December 9 and the donations will be wrapped and sent to Puerto Rico.
The Clamshell Foundation is a not-for-profit with the mission of supporting the people, programs, and projects in East Hampton. To date, the organization has awarded over $120,000 in grants.
Camp SoulGrow, also a not-for-profit, was founded by London Rosiere in 2014 and offers free, year-round programs for all kids. The camp operates solely on donations and volunteers, and is slated to open a second location in New Orleans in 2018.
Camp SoulGrow is located at Third House, Montauk County Park in Montauk. For more information, please visit www.campsoulgrow.org or www.clamshellfoundation.org.