Now that Thanksgiving is over, it’s time to look ahead to the holidays and be thankful for what you have. Each town usually collects food for the needy, as do many churches, so if you are hungry or homeless, check with Town Hall.
In Union City, this year the Brian P. Stack Civic Association planned to give out 21,000 turkeys, up from 20,000 last year. The association has been distributing free turkeys for over 30 years, with Mayor Stack delivering many of the birds personally door-to-door.
“I started out by doing chickens when I was 14 and just expanded,” he said. “Anyone can request a turkey as long as the supply lasts.”
In addition, Palisades Emergency Residency Corporation (PERC) provided a community Thanksgiving meal at their soup kitchen on Wednesday, Nov. 25, the night before Thanksgiving, at 6 p.m. They provide shelter, meals, and services to homeless individuals and families year round.
“Probably about 150 people attended last year,” said Executive Director Carol Mori.
PERC is located at 111 37th St. in Union City. To donate or get more information call (201) 348-8150.
On Saturday, Nov. 14 Weehawken held its annual Seniors Thanksgiving Party in the community room of one of the senior buildings. About 175 seniors attended and enjoyed a traditional Thanksgiving meal with dancing and entertainment.
In addition, the town delivers a full turkey meal with all the trimmings on Thanksgiving morning to about 150 residents in need.
“It’s not only a hot meal,” said Mayor Richard Turner. “It’s a friendly visit. The high school peer leadership group helps deliver the meals, along with the Girl Scouts and church catechism classes.”
The mayor and member of the Town Council pitch in as well, delivering meals and engaging in conversation with homebound residents. “It’s about reaching out and talking to them, seeing how they are, if there are any problems,” said Turner. “Some of them don’t get out often or come in contact with a lot of people. This could be their only visit on Thanksgiving Day.”
And for the kids, “It’s an education experience,” he said. “They see life can be tough for seniors.”
Park United Methodist Church at 51 Clifton Terrace started a food pantry about two months ago called The Light, offering food baskets every Tuesday and Thursday. They also hosted a “pie social” before Thanksgiving.
“We’re going to be giving pie and refreshments,” said Director Megan Mead-Bracknell.
They will offer a turkey dinner on Sunday, Nov. 29. An official dedication ceremony for the food pantry will begin at 11:15 a.m., with music and performances by volunteers. That will be followed by a traditional Thanksgiving meal at about 12:15 p.m. The event is open to all. Call (201) 867-9161 for more information, to donate, or to volunteer.
The Hoboken Homeless Shelter at 300 Bloomfield St. welcomes donations of napkins and plastic utensils. Call (201) 656-5069 for more information.
They recently received a grant for $332,674 for improvements to their facilities from the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), which shelter director Jacklyn Cherubini foresees will greatly improve future Thanksgiving proceedings.
“Renovations are going to be exciting, major projects will go on in the New Year. The biggest project I’m looking forward to is renovating the showers and also the emergency generator,” said Cherubini.
Art Schwartz may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where else to donate
Food donations can be made to a number of places throughout the county. These are some of the locations to donate for local Hudson County shelters and low income Jersey City families. For more information email Jessica@njsisterhood.org.
Drop off centers that will take donations 24 hours a day include the following:
Secaucus Meadowland EMS, 55 Meadowland Pkwy.
Union City EMS, 316 Sixteenth St.
Weehawken EMS, 201 Highwood Ave.
West New York EMS, 570 66th St.
Bayonne McCabe EMS, 666 Summit Ave.
Centers in Jersey City collecting Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. include the following:
Jersey City Hall, 280 Grove St.
Alpine Medical, 424 Central Ave.
Eye Contact Vision, 368 Central Ave.
Alpine Medical, 634 Summit Ave.
Alpine Medical, 2727 John F. Kennedy Blvd.