Tom Dwyer- A Helping Hand On Thanksgiving Day -Cover Story

By Tom Dwyer tom-dwyer-river-view-observer.jpg

thanksgiving-dinner.jpgA Helping Hand On Thanksgiving Day

 Thanksgiving Day is a special time to be with family and friends and enjoy a great meal while giving thanks.  But not everyone is so lucky on Thanksgiving, so this November 27th, 13 charitable organizations through out Hudson County will open their doors to those less fortunate and serve up a delicious Thanksgiving dinner.   

Jimmy King’s Civic Association in Jersey City (440 Hoboken Avenue) has been hosting Thanksgiving dinner for Jersey City residents for the past eleven years.  Most of King’s Thanksgiving Day guests are from Jersey City Heights and the Journal Square area.  Last year, King’s association delivered more than 300 hot meals to shut-ins and senior citizens, and at the club they served an additional 200 guests a sit-down Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings.  “We started this Thanksgiving event at Nico’s, a Jersey City restaurant.  Our plan was to help people in the area who had nowhere to go on Thanksgiving, or couldn’t afford a Thanksgiving meal,” King said. Today, with 300 association members, King has a small army of volunteers to deliver meals, and help shuttle people to the club.


But King says none of this is possible without the generosity of local supermarkets and restaurants which donate the food and help prepare the meals. “We buy most of the trimmings, but it’s the food stores like the downtown ShopRite, C-Town on Bergen Avenue, A&P, and Moloney’s Meat Market whose generosity helps make this happen,” King said.   For starters, local grocers and butchers donate at least 40 turkeys.  Next stop: the VIP Diner in Journal Square where the restaurant’s chefs cook and carve all the birds.  This year, with the economy in tough shape, King expects to feed an even bigger crowd.  “We never turn anyone away.  My wife, Cookie, sets up the tables and we make everyone feel right at home.”   For the Kings and their friends, the sense of satisfaction in helping their neighbors is overwhelming. “When we meet some of the people on the street after the event and they thank us with such gratitude. it really makes us feel like we have made their Thanksgiving special,” King said.  For more information on volunteering or attending the event call 201-963-1383.
Last year, The Veterans of Foreign Wars Flournoy-Gethers Post in Bayonne (33 W. 19th Street) kicked off its first Thanksgiving event for local residents to enjoy a home-cooked Thanksgiving dinner.  The VFW Post served more than 150 meals both to shut-ins and guests at the club.  Edith Ferrell, a member of the Woman’s Auxiliary, helped create the event. “We wanted to reach those who can’t get out to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal as well as those who might not be able to afford a Thanksgiving meal. We have been very lucky to have many wonderful volunteers from Bayonne who have helped us with donations to buy the food,” Ferrell said.   She hopes that the VFW Post will be able to host another dinner this year, but admits that with the downturn of the economy, it will be harder to find funds. “We are working very hard to have our Thanksgiving dinner again at the VFW Post.  Our first event last year was just great, and our volunteers were overjoyed at the response we had from the people who attended.” To contact the VFW Post to volunteer or find out more information on this year’s event call 201-344-4571.
St. Lucy’s Shelter (619 Grove Street) in Jersey City has been feeding the homeless on Thanksgiving since it opened its door 15 years ago. Each holiday, they serve over 150 meals to shelter residents and walk-ins. Joe Ulicki, the first shift supervisor oversees the arrangements for the Thanksgiving Day meal. “We get donations from schools around Jersey City which do a food drive each year for us. We have many civic associations who help us by donating turkeys. We also purchase food for the event, and politicians, like Steve Fulop and Harvey Smith, also send over food,” Ulicki said.  All of the cooking is done on the premises by Esmeralda Daly, St. Lucy’s full-time cook.   Ulicki says Thanksgiving at the shelter is something special.  “This is a population that has fallen on hard times, and for them to sit down and be treated to a really great meal is something that they really appreciate.” To contact St. Lucy’s Shelter for more information call 201-653-3366. They will be serving dinner at 3:30pm on Thanksgiving Day.

Other Thanksgiving meals being served to the public in Hudson County

Councilman Steve Lipski, his wife, Yraida, and Coptic Community Services will host Thanksgiving dinner from noon to 4 p.m. at 861 Bergen Ave., Jersey City
Zion Baptist Church, 521 Bramhall Ave., Jersey City, will offer Thanksgiving lunch at 11 a.m. For information, call 201- 333-5026.
The Faith Temple Baptist Church, 678 Ocean Ave., Jersey City, will serve Thanksgiving dinner from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. For information, call 201-322-7435.
The Hispanic Mercantile Federation, 4111 Palisades Ave., Union City, will be offering a free Thanksgiving lunch for the needy at noon. Volunteers are welcome. For information, call 201-865-0383.
Fountain of Salvation Christian Church, 324 Communipaw Ave., Jersey City, will serve Thanksgiving lunch from noon to 5 p.m. For information, call 201-435-0002.
The Civic Association of Union City will offer Thanksgiving dinner for Union City residents from noon to 3 p.m. at three locations: Iglesia Evangelica Pentecostal, 4903 Broadway; Centro Guadalupe, 545 35th St., and Miftaahul Uloom Learning Center, 501 15th St. Volunteers should arrive at the centers by 11:30 a.m. For information, call 201-348-5755.
The Jersey City Elks Lodge, 81-83 Hutton St., will host Thanksgiving dinner for the needy from 1 to 7 p.m. For information, call 201-407-5671.
Mount Olive Baptist Church, 400 Arlington Ave., Jersey City, will hold Thanksgiving service from 10 to 11 a.m. Free Thanksgiving dinner will be served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. All are welcome. For information, call 201-432-8795.
New Day Rehoboth Apostolic Church, 126 Rutgers Ave., Jersey City, will hold Thanksgiving lunch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For information, call 201-333-9897.
Grace Apostolic Church, 162 Ocean Ave., Jersey City, will offer Thanksgiving lunch from noon to 3 p.m. For information, call 201-432-2838.

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