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700 New Yorkers in Need Will Be Seated for an Exquisite Pre-Thanksgiving Meal at Food Bank For NYC's Community Kitchen of West Harlem Sponsored by Animal Welfare Approved

Chefs demonstrate how to prepare a nutritious, delicious meal on a budget  using value cuts from humanely raised Heritage breed turkey.

New York, NY …November 26 — We’re cookin’…Beginning today at dawn, ovens, burners, and everything else at the Food Bank For New York City’s Community Kitchen of West Harlem, located at 252 West 116th Street, were fired up in preparation for an exquisite pre-Thanksgiving dinner for 700 New Yorkers in need.  The meal was sponsored by Animal Welfare Approved — a program and food label that certifies and promotes family farms who raise their animals with high-welfare practices — in partnership with the Food Bank For New York City, Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch, Heritage Foods U.S.A., and Cabrito Restaurant in Manhattan.  The meal was set for 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM.

The birds — all heritage breed turkeys — were brought in from Frank Reese’s Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch in Lindsborg, KS — and Danny Williamson, CFO and General Manager, made the trip with them!  David Schuttenberg, head chef at Cabrito Restaurant in NYC, and Nate Gross, head chef at the Food Bank, demonstrated how to prepare a nutritious, delicious meal on a budget using value cuts from Animal Welfare Approved Heritage Breed turkey. In addition to the 45 whole birds, 400 wings, 500 drumsticks, 280 turkey necks, 50 lbs. of stuffing, 200 lbs. of cranberries, 100 gallons of apple cider, and hundred of lbs. of desserts, as well as more than 1,000 lbs. of vegetables were brought in from local, family farms in the New York area. 

Heritage turkeys were once critically endangered, but Frank Reese, a preeminent turkey expert, developed his Heritage Turkey Project in 2002 to continue these lines, raising his turkeys under the Animal Welfare Approved program’s high–welfare standards.  Good Shepherd turkeys live their lives on pastures where they forage, graze, and fly, behaviors that conventionally raised birds are not able to do. Good Shepherd’s turkeys have consistently been voted the best tasting bird on the market by chefs and food writers alike.

“We are honored to partner with the Food Bank, Good Shepherd, Cabrito and Heritage Foods to prepare and share a meal that features meat from humanely raised turkeys and vegetables from sustainable family farms that sell their products at Greenmarkets across the city,” remarked Animal Welfare Approved program director Andrew Gunther.

He continued, “Trends indicate growing consumer interest in knowing where food comes from and how it is raised; but it's not always affordable to shop with your conscience. We are very proud that Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch bears our seal as the Animal Welfare Approved food label has been recognized as having the 'most stringent' animal welfare standards available, according to the World Society for the Protection of Animals. We are honored to be able to share this meal with 700 of New York's most in need.”

The Community Kitchen is only one of 1,000 food assistance programs that New Yorkers will turn to this holiday season but many will find empty shelves and empty plates. The Food Bank provides 300,000 meals daily. Approximately 1.3 million New Yorker residents are turning to food assistance programs including one in every five children. The Food Bank is already feeling the dire effects of the economic crisis as corporations pull back on fund and resources; foundations cut long-term support for important programs that support the poor; and the number of individual donors plummets. 

Recognizing the enormous strain being placed on the Food Bank For New York City, another longtime supporter has stepped forward to show their unprecedented support. The Robin Hood Foundation announced that any dollar donated to the Food Bank through the month of December, up to one million dollars, will be matched two-for-one by the Foundation. 

"We are very grateful to Animal Welfare Approved and to all of the other wonderful partners for their support and for helping to bring much needed visibility to the pervasive issue of hunger in New York City, especially in these troubled times,” said Dr. Lucy Cabrera, President and CEO of the Food Bank For New York City. “The Food Bank is deeply concerned about the impact that the financial crisis and skyrocketing food and fuel costs will have on all New Yorkers. The holiday season is an especially challenging time for out network of programs. While the consequences of these economic factors are not yet fully known, we feel certain about two things — the number of New Yorkers in need of assistance will surely rise, and thanks to partners like these, the Food Bank For New York City will be there to help.”

There are many ways to help the Food Bank this holiday season and beyond. You can make a financial contribution, coordinate a food drive or virtual food drive or volunteer. A $1 donation to the Food Bank provides 5 meals.  However, if you make that donation during the month of December, your donation will be eligible for the Robin Hood Matching grant so $1 = $3.

More Information About The Participants

Food Bank For New York City
Food Bank For New York City recognized 25 years as the city’s major hunger-relief organization.  Working to end food poverty and increase access to affordable, nutritious food for low-income New Yorkers throughout the five boroughs. The Food Bank’s initiatives focus on direct services, food sourcing, and distribution, education and nutrition, financial empowerment, disaster relief and policy and research.

Animal Welfare Approved
The Animal Welfare Approved program and food label is the only farm animal welfare label and program that requires family ownership, prohibits confinement feeding operations, provides grants to farmers and is offered for free. The program promotes the well-being ofanimals and the sustainability of humane family farms, uniting conscientious consumers and armers who raise their animals with compassion. Animal Welfare Approved was recently lauded by the World Society for the protection of Animals as having the highest animal welfare standards of all third-party certifiers.

Located in the heart of the West Village, Cabrito is serving up authentic Mexican fare, creative cocktails and an all around good time. The highly seasonal and superior product-driven menu, created by Chef David Schuttenberg, features house-made chorizo cemitas, pork belly tacos and huitlacoche huaraches.

Fairway Market
Good Shepherd turkeys are available at the four area Fairway Markets including the store at 2328 12 Avenue in Harlem. 

Greenmarket promotes regional agriculture and ensures a continuing supply of fresh, local produce for New Yorkers. Greenmarket, a program of the Council on the Environment of New York City, has organized and managed open-air farmers markets in NYC since 1976, supporting farmers and preserving farmland for the future by providing regional small family farmers with opportunities to sell their fruits, vegetables and other farm products to New Yorkers.

Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch
The Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch Inc. breeds and raises historically authentic heritage turkeys, grown free range, and vegetarian fed without antibiotics.  Only standard-bred turkeys — known as heritage birds — are guaranteed to have a normal skeletal structure, growth rate, metabolic system and lifespan. The Ranch was the first turkey farm to receive the Animal Welfare Approved seal.

Heritage Foods USA
Heritage Foods USA exists to promote genetic diversity, small family farms, and a fully traceable food supply. It is committed to making wholesome, delicious and sustainably produced heritage foods available to all Americans. Current projects include a new heritage radio station, a heritage film and a book on Slow Business.

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