Why I drive for Equinox on Thanksgiving Day

Every year, I’ve associated this charitable tradition – delivering turkey dinners on Thanksgiving Day for those in the Capital District who need them – as one of the most important and charitable functions I can undertake each year.

And as much as I feel good about this holiday every year…

Sometimes I get the feeling that there are people who actually think less of me for doing this.

Two years ago, someone commented that my blogging about participating in the Equinox Thanksgiving Day turkey deliveries was making me boastful and prideful, as if my doing this was less about the charity and more about myself.  Nice to know that someone can quote Scripture to emphasize that I’m a worthless glory-hound.  Thanks a pantload.

And last year, after I rescued a shivering dog from a frozen car, I was ripped to bits on the social media site reddit for my efforts.  Remember how I’ve said in the past that I have a love-hate relationship with reddit?  This example certainly does not fall under the category of “love.”

Maybe, instead of worrying about what other people think of me for doing this… I need to remind myself why I do this in the first place.

And I think that the seeds of participating in this tradition actually began in 1978.  I blogged about that autumn, when I lived with my biological father and his third wife for about four months in the Chestnut Prison.  I somehow got out of there, and before I went back to Albany, I spent Thanksgiving with my Grandma Betty before returning to the Capital District.  She hadn’t planned to feed an extra mouth that evening, but somehow there was more than enough turkey and trimmings to go around.

And even in those terrible, lonely moments when I felt like nobody cared or nobody wanted me around… I was still able to find a way to share the holiday of “giving thanks” with someone.  Anyone.  Sometimes it involved spending the holidays by myself on the frozen wintry Hamilton College campus… sometimes I ended up sharing a pizza with the only other student on campus.

This is part of what I do.  I get up at God-knows-what-time in the morning, and I traipse off to the Empire State Plaza.  I wait in line until the turkey dinners are ready for shipping.  And from that moment forward, I make sure that I deliver the dinners that I am assigned.

I do this in memory and in honor of those who provided kindnesses to me when I felt sad and lonely and useless.  I don’t do this out of some grandiose chest-pounding “Hey look at me” endeavor.  I do this for one reason and one reason only – because no one should spend Thanksgiving without family and friends and food and faith.

And the reward of doing this?  A simple “thank you” from the recipient is more than enough for me.  More than enough.  And in the end, that’s all that truly matters.

If you see me at the Empire State Plaza in the waiting line, feel free to come over and say hi.  I’ll be the paunchy guy with the goatee and the Albany Patroons jacket.

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8 thoughts on “Why I drive for Equinox on Thanksgiving Day”

  1. OMG Chuck, don’t know what is wrong with these people who mock you and say you are doing it for the glory. I for one love reading your blog about delivering the dinners. I think of how Thankful the folks receiving the dinners must be to have you come, not just for the dinners but to see a friendly face where maybe some of these folks don’t see anyone for days. I say God bless you for doing this and bringing sunshine to others. I have
    no idea who reddit is (only read very view blogs!) but I’m glad I don’t.
    Okay, I’m getting a little to wordy but it upsets me when someone is doing good and others have to try to tear it down. Happy Thanksgiving.

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  2. Do not let the negative comments bring you down. Your writing about this charitable tradition might inspire others to do the same kind of things. Have a wonderful Holiday!

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  3. By humbug to those who sit at their computers contributing nothing but negative thoughts. May they find coal in their stockings. Keep up the good works, the country needs more people willing to donate their time.

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  4. People to complain that you post information on your blog about helping out those who are less fortunate needs a swift kick in the behind. They also need to get out and help people themselves. Just remember… karma is a *itch.

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  5. Let your flag fly high Chuck – all those naysayers don’t do $#!% for their fellow human or dog – they’re just prideful at being reminded how small their lives are.

    You should being saying “This year I delivered food to many, many families – what have you done? Bah! I am laughing at your western bourgeois values…everybody eat!” (helps if you speak with a Russian accent circa the Get Smart-era)

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  6. I am nothing but proud of you for doing this each and every year Chuck. And for rescuing a freezing dog as well. You’re only looking out for people and pets and doing a wonderful job of it. Bravo! Ignore the naysayers, they know not what good brings to the soul. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and be safe delivering the dinners.

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