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Talking (and giving) turkey

Families in need this Thanksgiving can rest assured they won't have to go without turkey, with a massive turkey dinner donation today from Hannaford Supermarkets to the Equinox Inc. Community Services Agency, which hosts a huge Thanksgiving dinner every year at the Empire State Plaza.

Last year, the company donated 2,400 lbs of turkey to the dinner effort. This year, when Equinox realized diminishing donations probably wouldn't meet increasing demand, Hannaford was quick to respond with by tacking on an extra 1,000 lbs of bird.

This year's donation also included 2,000 fruit cups, 350 pies and 130 cans of yams, which were loaded up from the Westgate Hannaford store on Central Avenue in Albany.

Equinox Development Coordinator Lea Bosquez said the slumping economy is likely to blame for the donation trouble.

We're finding that those people who donated are still making the commitment and donating, but they're not able to donate as much, she said.

Equinox for the past seven years has been hosting the Thanksgiving dinner at the plaza. The group also delivers meals and holds a seating for 500 at the First Presbyterian Church of Albany.

The attendance each year is rising, with 9,000 meals served in 2009, said Bosquez. That's likely due to more people being aware of the dinner, along with more people falling into shaky financial straits.

Hannaford already runs a Helping Hands program at this time of year, where a $10 donation will buy a meal for a family. Westgate Plaza Hannaford Store Manager Dave Farrell said the company is always on the lookout for area causes to support around the holiday.

"We're more than happy to help support these organizations," he said.""

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