Hoboken Police Det. Sgt. Edgardo Cruz and Fire Inspector Andrew Frey first teamed up three years ago to deliver 150 Thanksgiving meals to those in need. They have been doing so ever since.
“The Fire Department was involved on their own,” said Cruz. “We used to give out 100 and they gave out 50, and when we found out we were doing the same thing, we decided to do one. It’s a better showing and people see both the Fire Department and the Police Department working together.”
“We didn’t want to give people duplicate meals,” said Frey. “We thought we could spread it out to even more people.“
This past Monday, the two departments hand-delivered 150 complete thanksgiving meals to residents in the Hoboken Housing Authority, Applied Housing, and senior buildings.
“We had about 20 volunteers between the Fire Department and Police Department,” said Cruz.
ShopRite at 900 Madison St. donated all the turkeys and sides including vegetables, stuffing, and mashed potatoes.
“Just knowing those families get to sit down and have a complete Thanksgiving dinner makes me happy.” –Andrew Frey.
The volunteers met outside ShopRite and created an assembly line to fill the bags of food.
“The hardest part getting everything together,” said Cruz. “We buy 150 bags to put them in and do an assembly line which goes pretty fast. But it takes time, especially when it’s cold.”
Monday reached a high of 41 degrees in Hoboken.
“The weather sticks to its guns,” said Cruz. “Mother nature makes sure it’s cold every year.”
“It was even snowing a little,” said Frey.
After the bags are checked to ensure no items are missing, they are divvied up amongst the volunteers to deliver to those on the list.
According to Cruz, The Hoboken Housing Authority and Applied buildings provide the Police Department with a list of 150 people and families most in need of a Thanksgiving meal. Frey said HOPES Head Start provides him a list of people who might need the help. The two then cross reference the lists and make sure there are no duplicates before the delivery day.
Both Cruz and Frey said they enjoy seeing the looks of happiness on the faces of the residents.
“You can just see the expression on their faces,” said Cruz. “Some cry from joy and excitement others give us hugs. It makes our day and it makes their day.”
Just knowing those families get to sit down and have a complete Thanksgiving dinner makes me happy,” said Frey.
Frey said he hopes to do more in the future. Cruz agreed, stating, “Obviously I’d love to give everyone a turkey, but we request a list of those who need it most.”
Marilyn Baer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.