As long-time readers of my blog will verify, I participate every year in a personal Thanksgiving holiday tradition. On Thanksgiving morning, I’m at the Empire State Plaza with hundreds of other volunteer drivers, and we deliver Thanksgiving turkey dinners to needy families throughout the Capital District as part of the Equinox Thanksgiving Dinner tradition.
It’s a personal mitzvot for me, and I enjoy making it part of my life – so much so, in fact, that last year when an injury prevented me from participating in the tradition, I was extremely devastated.
So last Friday, when an Equinox representative called me and asked if I would be interested in driving again this year, I couldn’t say “yes ma’am” fast enough.
But I had a question. I wanted to get to the event as early as possible, in that I planned on delivering turkey dinners to the outlying counties and hill towns – yeah, I could drop off some dinners at my neighborhood and then go home – but for me, a family is a family and they deserve meals, no matter how far away they are from the distribution center.
“Well,” she said to me, “would you like to be a target driver?”
Hadn’t heard of being a target driver… what does it involve?
“We would have you arrive at our location at a specific time, and you would load your car, with the specific purpose of traveling to the outer edges of our distribution network.”
“Like where?” I asked.
“Could you deliver to Columbia County?”
“I did that two years ago, I can do it again.”
“How about Montgomery County?”
“I delivered to Fonda years ago… does that count?”
“Fulton County, yes..”
“And before you ask, I can deliver to Saratoga County, Warren County, Washington County, Greene County, this county, that county…”
“Mr. Miller, we can use target drivers, you would be required to deliver to those families in need, and some of them are very far away. If you want to do this, we would love to have you participate in this manner.”
“Okay, what time do I need to get to the Plaza?”
“Oh, Mr. Miller, you wouldn’t be going to the Plaza. You would come to our administrative offices at Hackett Boulevard, and your delivery means would be sent from there.”
“Okay, what time do I need to get there? 3am? 2am? Wednesday night before?”
“No, Mr. Miller, you would probably need to be at the facility around 8am, maybe 9am or so. You don’t need to camp out, you’re actually assigned a pickup and delivery time.”
This is big. I can fulfill my holiday traditions – and sleep in?
Sign me up.
So about a week before the Thanksgiving event, Equinox will call me and confirm my availability, as well as give me a choice of destinations.
Listen, don’t get me wrong … I’ve always enjoyed the excitement and the reconnection of being part of the “Core 5” – those five people who show up first in line every year. That’s alwyas been a wonderful feeling for me.
That being said … this will be an evolution to my holiday. Targeted gift-giving to faraway families.
And they’re still looking for volunteers. Maybe you could be one.
Visit Equinox’s Thanksgiving Day information page and see if you qualify to be a driver.
Or simply show up Thursday morning at the Empire State Plaza, ready and willing and able to bring Thanksgiving cheer to a needy family.
Every step of the way is a blessed step.