As the holiday season quickly nears, two Hamptons-based organizations are readying for one of the most important and meaningful days of the year – the 5th annual Thanksgiving Turkey Drive.
On Friday, November 16, Camp SoulGrow, a Montauk-based non-profit workshop camp where creativity is fostered, and the Clamshell Foundation, an East Hampton-based non-profit whose mission is to champion the people, programs, and projects of the East End, will give away 108 turkeys to those in the community that are food insecure and might not otherwise be able to enjoy a holiday meal.
“We’re so excited about this year’s 5th annual Turkey Drive,” shared London Rosiere, Camp SoulGrow Founder.
In the morning, the SoulGrow bus will pick up Camp SoulGrowers at the Montauk Public School and then head to the Amagansett IGA where they will pick up the frozen turkeys. From there, they’ll head out to make the special deliveries.
“The Turkey Drive is such a wonderful event as it teaches children the importance of giving back,” Kori Peters, daughter of Clamshell Foundation co-founder and CEO Billy Kalbacher, reflected.
“I think it’s so wonderful because the kids get the gift of giving at a young age and they can see firsthand how much of an impact they can have on other people’s lives. It’s a fun day,” Rosiere added.
The Turkey Drive supports several East End-based non-profits and organizations that assist those in need – such as The Retreat, Jewish Center of the Hamptons, local fire departments, Calvary Baptist Church, and East Hampton Food Pantry. “We have a list of places we deliver to and it’s adorable because the kids are trying to pick up the frozen turkeys and the boxes and they’re wearing aprons,” Rosiere said. “They feel like they’re actually serving and they are.”
The organizations’ efforts will reach from Montauk all the way to Bellport. “Ms. Alice Houseknecht of the Montauk Food Pantry, she is actually taking some to the Eastern Farm Workers Association in Bellport,” Rosiere explained. Locally, the Camp SoulGrow bus and volunteers will be making stops in Sag Harbor, East Hampton, Amagansett, and Montauk.
This year, Rosiere expects around eight Camp SoulGrowers to lend a helping hand. “We like to keep it small,” she noted. While they are all set with hands-on volunteers, there is still a way that the community can assist the amazing effort. “We always need donations, for us and the Clamshell Foundation to be able to buy the turkeys and pay for the transportation and everything that goes along with keeping these opportunities open to the kids,” Rosiere relayed.
“It’s one of my favorite things that we do ever year and unfortunately we did lose Mr. Rosetti Perchik, who founded the Clamshell Foundation, so now we do it every year in complete honor and memory of him,” Rosiere noted. “We wanted to make sure we kept this alive for him because he loved working with Camp SoulGrow and like I said helping the kids understand how important it is to give back.”
For Rosiere, the cause is extremely personal as when she was little, she and her family were the recipients of a similar effort from St. Angela Merici food bank in Metairie, Louisiana. “Me and my brother had never been so excited to see a blue box of macaroni and cheese,” she said about receiving the donation, “and to be able to give the kids an opportunity to change people’s lives through giving is the greatest gift that I could have and that’s why I work so hard to do this,” she explained.
“We’re grateful to be able to give,” Rosiere reflected. “That’s kind of our whole mission: through giving is how we grow and we’re Camp SoulGrow, that’s what we do.”
For more information about Camp SoulGrow, visit www.campsoulgrow.org. For more information about the Clamshell Foundation, visit clamshellfoundation.org.