Yankees, nonprofit team up to feed community

November 20th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Bryan Hoch's Yankees Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

At its core, Thanksgiving is about community. The Yankees once again embraced that spirit in the Bronx this past week.

The organization hosted a feast on Friday at the Rev. T. Wendell Foster Park and Recreation Center, just in the shadows of Yankee Stadium, where more than 800 members of local families were hosted for turkey with all of the fixings.

“I think everyone deserves a smile. Everyone deserves a Thanksgiving meal,” said Kenny Leandry, the Yankees’ director of corporate/community relations. “So as you see from all the individuals that are here in attendance today, that’s what we have. And for us to have played a very small role in that, that just means the world to us.”

The Yankees, Legends Hospitality and SCAN-Harbor (Supportive Children’s Advocacy Network) partnered to host the feast.

Matt Gibson, the Yankees’ senior executive chef, helped to serve traditional Thanksgiving fare. Turkey, stuffing, macaroni and cheese, green beans, pies and cookies were among the offerings.

“I think it’s the right thing to do as the Yankees and as Legends, to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to have a great meal for Thanksgiving,” Gibson said. “You look at the managers and everyone that’s involved, they’re all volunteering their time and they’re all enjoying themselves.”

Founded in 1977, SCAN-Harbor is a nonprofit youth and family service organization that provides a variety of integrated supports to the highest-risk children and families of Harlem, East Harlem and the South Bronx.

“These kids are having a great time,” said Joshua Ruiz, group leader at SCAN-Harbor. “These kids came in, they ate, they’re talking to each other, they’re communicating with each other. It’s just a chance for them to have fun with their friends and get to meet new people as well.”

This marks the 12th year that the Yankees and Legends Hospitality have participated in the Thanksgiving feast with SCAN-Harbor.

“If you ask our young people, and I’m sincere, they’ll tell you, 'It’s the best meal I’ve ever had,'” said Lewis Zuchman, executive director of SCAN-Harbor. “It’s really a special night for them. To see the staff and their enthusiasm, it’s a moment where we come together -- the Yankees, Legends restaurant and our community, in the holiday spirit.”

Last week, the Yankees hosted a food voucher giveaway at Yankee Stadium, partnering with Krasdale Foods to provide approximately 4,000 $25 food voucher giveaways to assist Bronx residents in preparing their Thanksgiving meals. The club is also running a virtual food drive, in which donations of $40 generate an offer code valid for two tickets to select 2024 home games.

“It’s a microcosm of the bigger picture throughout the year,” Leandry said. “We don’t believe in one-offs or one event here, one event there. We’re here to serve our neighbors throughout the entire year.”