Video by Jessica Leibowitz

"We'll turn on the stoves Sunday and won't turn them off until Thursday," James Winans, Chief Development Officer of The Bowery Mission, says with a chuckle. "Probably after Thursday." Spirits are high at the Mission's 227 Bowery headquarters, as staff and men in the Mission's Residential Recovery Program prepare to receive a truckload of turkeys from City Harvest, the food rescue organization that regularly works with groups like The Bowery Mission to feed New Yorkers in need. The Mission will go through a total of 650 turkeys this Thanksgiving alone.

Over the course of a typical day, 600-1,000 meals will be served at the cafeteria at The Bowery Mission and that number can triple on Thanksgiving, which is why they'll be cooking 24-hours-a-day until the conclusion of the holiday. It's a process that involves tons of effort and labor, from carting around the frozen turkeys to prepping and cooking them in advance. "All of the turkeys are cut by a faithful volunteer who's been helping out at the Bowery for 20 years," says Gretchen Roth, Senior Manager of Food Services. "He cuts every single turkey himself with our giant slicer."

Around Thanksgiving, The Bowery Mission and Xavier Mission, a community outreach organization on West 15th Street, typically experience a dramatic increase in support, from operations like City Harvest's turkey drop to applications from new volunteers. While both organizations are grateful for the help, both experience a post-holiday slump that can be tough to get through during a season where they're also seeing a larger influx of people walking through their doors.

"As it's winter, we tend to get higher and higher numbers, so we start to get 1,000 meals a day that we're churning out and less donations are coming in," says Roth. "It's really important for the people in New York City to maybe remember that just because the holidays are over, there are still a lot of hungry people in this city and it's great for them to continually think about items they can donate. We're really in need of those things in the winter months, especially fresh vegetables, meat and canned vegetables. Things that are hearty but also healthy."

To that end, both The Bowery Mission and Xavier Mission are seeking volunteers and donations, whether they're physical or financial, to support the communities that they serve. City Harvest, too, depends on volunteers and donations of all types to feed the 1.7 million New Yorkers living in poverty.