The South Bronx has been a Thanksgiving Day saint for over four decades to hundreds in need

Over the years, the traditional dinner has evolved to feed those who experience homelessness.

“They come in the door, they’re welcomed, they get a name tag,” Rogers said. “And I get to play maitre d ‘.” How’s the food? “Is everything okay with you?” And at the end, they come around with seconds of pies. I love to see people [say]”I can not eat more.”

But this Bronx saint and native does not leave people in need out in the cold for dinners that are not on holidays. Rogers also runs a food delivery program called “Hope Walks”, where he guides volunteers on trips to deliver food to their unprotected neighbors. During the covid-19 pandemic, he and his team extended the scheduled days from one day to one week to three, hand out at least 30 meals each time.

“When the pandemic came, no one [was] out on the street, that [was] a ghost town, “Rogers explained. But out on the street there are all the people who are homeless. They are not homeless. They are homeless people. They ended up in this state. We do not know why and how, but they are human first. “

Rogers may be a saint, but he’s not Mr. Rogers. He is also an activist.

In the 1980s, after Mayor Koch closed the local firehouse on the East 150th, Rogers persuaded newly elected Mayor Dinkins to take it back. He even handcuffed a fire truck in protest.

A man identified as “Matthew”, who lives in a camp, told NY-1: “It is difficult for homeless people to get food from here. And when someone with a big, kind heart comes by and does this, it really fills us with joy. ”

Roger’s adult children, Joe and Maria, have been helping their father and other volunteers with the annual Turkey Day dinner and other community service since they were children.

“I was probably about 5 years old, so I could not spell that well, and I was a waiter so I went around to people’s tables and just drew what they ordered,” says Joe Rogers Today. “I would draw a little turkey … or create a symbol for cranberry sauce.”

Rogers tells Today he usually kicks off his dinners or food presents with a scripture from the Bible.

“Matthew 25 is what Dr. [Martin Luther] King quoted. And Dr. King said, speaking of his own praise, ‘When I die, do not tell them what school I went to. Do not talk about the awards I received. But I hope you can say that Martin Luther King tried to feed the hungry, to visit the outcasts. And that’s what we’re trying to do. “

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