East Meadow Kiwanis Club gives back ahead of Thanksgiving


It was a tremendous weekend of giving back for the Kiwanis Club of East Meadow.

Following a successful food drive this month, the club was able to donate a record number of food baskets to families in need in the community on Saturday. At W.T. Clarke High School in the East Meadow School District, on Friday evening, Kiwanis members, volunteers and students in the Key Club, Builders Club and K-Kids packed 165 baskets of food — making the food drive project a massive success.

Food that was donated to families in East Meadow schools, identified by social workers as those in need, began to be collected during the club’s Nov. 4 and 5 food drive at the Uniondale Shoprite. There, the club collected truckloads of food.

Through Nov. 16, the club was still collecting donations at Coldwell Banker American Homes, and separate drives being run in elementary schools all contributed to the overall total that was able to be donated.

“Many hands make light word,” the club wrote on Facebook.

The food was delivered to families on Nov. 18. Catherine Razzano, who chairs the Kiwanis food drive with her husband, said everything that gets donated goes directly to families in need — and nowhere in between. She said delivering food to people’s doorsteps is a tremendous feeling. 

“That’s when your heartstrings get pulled,” Razzano said. “We’ve witnessed families where a parent has been lost, and another one is ill, and there is nothing coming into these homes. And you truly see the need is so great.”

The Kiwanis also holds a food drive in the spring, which allows the club to restock pantries in the area. The main pantries the Kiwanis services are at St. Brigid Catholic Church in Westbury, St. Martha Roman Catholic Church in Uniondale and St. Raphael Catholic Parish in East Meadow.

On Sunday, the Kiwanis was ready for the next step of giving back at the 2023 Frank Saracino Memorial Senior Citizen & Military Family Thanksgiving Dinner. Over 300 people were served in the gymnasium of East Meadow High School. Saracino died earlier this year at the age of 90.

The dinner began being held in 1978 and helped bridge the gap of having teens mingle with older generations. The efforts to feed so many people take many hours in the kitchen — as well as many, many volunteers. This year’s dinner was again made possible with the help of both the East Meadow High School Key Club and the W.T. Clarke High School Key Club, Builders Club and K-Kids. Teachers and staff from the schools also assist in the efforts that make the dinner possible.

“Thank you to chairs Julie and Mike Leake for leading the preparation of the Thanksgiving meal,” the Kiwanis said on Facebook. “One of the many reviews by our seniors were ‘I would definitely come back to this restaurant.’ Happy Thanksgiving to all.”