Feeding the hungry on Thanksgiving Where to get a free meal, donate, or volunteer for the holiday

This Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 22, and the days preceding, there will be various venues across Hudson County where the less fortunate can get a warm meal. Some venues also need volunteers and food donations.

Several venues are actually offering their free Thanksgiving dinner in the days before or after the holiday.

To make sure of their needs, please first call the respective restaurant, shelter, or church. The phone numbers are included with the story.

Where to get meals and help out, by town


Secaucus has an emergency food pantry gives food to needy families. It’s located at 101 Centre Ave. Call (201) 330-2014 for more information.

In addition, King’s Kitchen, made up of volunteers from several Secaucus churches, will be delivering meals to the elderly on Thanksgiving Day.

Also there will be a Thanksgiving service on Tuesday, Nov. 20 at the St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church at Paterson Plank Road and Roosevelt Ave. at 7 p.m.

Kipnis Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine, with offices in Secaucus and Cliffside Park, is sponsoring a blanket drive for the homeless. For more information, call Jennifer Kurylo in the Secaucus office at (201) 319-0010.

Union City

One of the three homeless shelters in Hudson County, the Palisades Emergency Residence Corporation (PERC) homeless shelter at 108 36th St. in Union City, will serve dinner on Thanksgiving from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday. It will be a traditional turkey dinner. According to officials from the shelter, more than 125 people are expected to attend.

The PERC Shelter is a nonprofit interfaith organization whose mission is to provide food and shelter to residents in need. For more information or volunteer year-round, call (201) 348-8150.

Also in Union City, the Brian Stack Civic Association, as part of a 19-year tradition, is donating 5,000 turkeys to needy Union City families. Any Union City family that needs a turkey for Thanksgiving can call (201) 863-8583. Leave your name, address and a number where you can be reached, and someone from Mayor Stack’s staff will arrange delivery.

On Thanksgiving Day, the Hispanic Merchantile Foundation will offer a free Thanksgiving lunch for the needy at their facility at 4111 Palisade Ave. starting at 12 noon. To volunteer for the luncheon or for more information, call (201) 865-0383.

West New York

On Saturday, Nov 17 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., the city of West New York plans to hold a senior Thanksgiving Party at West New York Middle School at 201 57th Street. Tickets are required. For more information, call (201) 295-5144.


Representatives from Weehawken’s Town Council and Mayor Richard Turner will distribute dinners on Thanksgiving Day to senior shut-ins. For more information call (201) 319-6059.


The Bayonne chapter of UNICO National will hold its Annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner on Nov. 18 from noon to 2 p.m. in Assumption Hall of Our Lady of Assumption Parish, Kennedy Boulevard and 23rd Street, Bayonne.

They will not be delivering meals to the homebound, and there will not be transportation to the Thanksgiving dinner. Call the Bayonne Office on Aging at (201) 858-6119 for more details.

The Bayonne Economic Opportunity Foundation will serve dinner on Thanksgiving Day at 12:30 p.m. in the community room of Backbay Gardens, 535 Avenue A off West 23rd Street. The BEOF will also deliver meals. For more information, call (201) 437-7222, ext. 20.

Jersey City

St. Lucy’s Shelter, 619 Grove St., Jersey City, will hold its annual Thanksgiving dinner for anyone in need on Thanksgiving Day at 4:30 p.m. The shelter accepts donations of food, supermarket gift certificates, winter clothing, and money throughout the year. Donations may be dropped off at the shelter. For more information, call (201) 656-7201.

The Hard Grove Café on Grove Street in Jersey City, near the Grove Street PATH station, serves free Thanksgiving meals for the needy each year. Former owner Domenick Santana started the tradition years ago after seeing a man scraping together pennies for a meal on Thanksgiving. Interested people should come in between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. and say they are there for the Thanksgiving meal for the needy. Volunteers also are welcome. To sign up or get more information, call 201-451-1853 and ask for a manager.

Hudson County Community College, located at 26 Journal Square in Jersey City, is currently conducting a Thanksgiving food drive at the Journal Square campus until Nov. 21. The college is asking for donations from the public of canned and non-perishable foods. Those donations can be brought to the college’s 25 Pathside location, near the Journal Square PATH station, and placed in the collection box outside the Office of Student Activities. The donations will benefit St. Lucy’s Shelter on Grove Street in Jersey City.

Councilman Steve and Yraida Lipski and Coptic Community Services will host a traditional, complimentary Thanksgiving Dinner from noon to 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. The dinner will be held at the Coptic Community Center at 861 Bergen Ave. in Jersey City. For more information or to volunteer, call (201) 547-5172. Jimmy King’s Civic Association in Jersey City will be having their 10th Annual Thanksgiving Dinner from the homeless and shut-ins. Dinner will be served at the Sharing Place at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church Hall at 440 Hoboken Ave., Jersey City from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Also, Thanksgiving dinners will be delivered. For more information or to volunteer, call (201) 963-1383.


The Hoboken Homeless Shelter, 300 Bloomfield St., will offer a full day of activities and food for the needy. They offer a dinner on Thanksgiving on Nov. 22 consisting of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes and vegetables, at 7 p.m. The day includes a hot breakfast at St Matthew’s Trinity Church on Eighth Street (between Washington and Hudson) for the needy starting at 9 a.m. and a pancake breakfast at the shelter for volunteers also at 9 a.m. There will be board games and social time at 10 a.m.; movies at 11 a.m.; Thanksgiving lunch from 1 to 2 p.m., board games and social time at 2 p.m., movies at 5 p.m., and then the Thanksgiving dinner starting at 7 p.m. They need volunteers for certain shifts on Thanksgiving and encourage donations of paper and plastic plates and cups, plastic utensils, and napkins. To get more information, call Jaclyn Cherubini at (201) 656-5069.

Mario’s Classic Pizza at 742 Garden St. will be hosting a free traditional Thanksgiving dinner from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. The dinner is open to anyone in the community who needs it. Last year the event drew well over 100 people, and it is expected to grow again this year. For more information or to deliver in Hoboken, call (201) 659-0808.

As opposed to past years, East L.A. on Washington Street in Hoboken will not be serving a free Thanksgiving dinner this year. Because there were so many nearby places serving free meals to the needy, they had a low turnout in the past two years, so they decided to suspend their free Thanksgiving meals this year.

St. Francis Church at 308 Jefferson St. has a food pantry that serves 20 to 25 lunches daily for the homeless or unemployed. The parish also collects and distributes packages of food to needy families throughout the year and on the holidays. But the food pantry will not be open on Thanksgiving Day.

Note that those who request food for families are sometimes people who have just lost jobs, who are waiting for the arrival of their food stamps, or those referred to St. Francis by one of the homeless shelters in the area or by FAITH Services in Hoboken, the local Franciscan AIDS program.

Food donations are always welcome and can be left at the rectory at 308 Jefferson St. Recommended are pasta, rice, beans, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti sauce, canned fish, meats, fruits or vegetables, and cake or biscuit mixes.. Call for more information at (201) 659-1772.

The National Council of Jewish Women of Hoboken/Hudson is seeking volunteers to assemble and deliver Thanksgiving food packages to needy people in the Hoboken area. Assembly of the food packages will begin at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 18 at the Hoboken Senior Center at 124 Grand St. There will also be a pre-project brunch at 11 a.m. For more information or to volunteer, e-mail ncjwhoboken@hotmail.com or (201) 216-1620. On Sunday, Nov. 18 at 3 p.m., the Hoboken Clergy Coalition will hold an interfaith Thanksgiving Service at the All Saints Episcopal Parish on Seventh and Washington streets. Non-perishable food items and children’s coats will be collected at the service and distributed locally at a later date through the In Jesus’ Name Charities, and money collected at the offering will be given to help the Hoboken Clergy Coalition ministry for the poor. The coalition is composed of local clergy from Christian and Jewish congregations.

For more information, call Rev. Mary Forell at (201) 659-4499, Rev. Geoff Curtis at (201) 792-3563, or April Harris at (201) 792-2112.

On Friday, Nov. 16, Jubilee Center in Hoboken at 601 Jackson St. plans to hold a Thanksgiving Brunch dinner for the children of Jubilee Center between 2:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.

It is part of their Thanksgiving holiday party. For more information, call (201) 792-0340.

St. Peter and Paul Church at 404 Hudson Street is asking parishioners to bring non-perishable food donations to the Nov. 18 Mass at noon or church services during the week. Suggested trimmings include canned vegetables, stuffing mix, cranberry sauce, biscuit and muffin mixes, rice and boxed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, soups, applesauce and other canned fruit, pie filling, and pie crust and other dessert mixes.

For more information (201) 659-2276.

Comments on this story can be sent to rkaulessar@hudsonreporter.com


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