Giving thanks in the midst of recovery

Where to volunteer, donate, or get a free meal this Thanksgiving

via E. Assata Wright/The Hudson Reporter

For many residents of New Jersey, including quite a few in Hudson County, the 2012 holiday season will probably be remembered as a difficult one, given the events of the past few weeks. Many of our friends and neighbors have lost homes, businesses, and possessions. While the numbers are small, a few have even lost their lives or the lives on loved ones.

Thus, this Thanksgiving will be a somber reminder for most residents of what is most important – family, friends, and community. Each year, the Reporter offers an overview of places where people throughout Hudson County can go to get a Thanksgiving meal if they can’t afford one, or if they’d rather celebrate the day with their neighbors rather than sit at home alone. This overview also includes places to volunteer or donate.

St. Lucy’s Shelter (619 Grove St.) will hold its annual Thanksgiving dinner for anyone in need on Thanksgiving Day beginning at 4 p.m. The shelter also accepts donations of food, supermarket gift certificates, winter clothing, and money throughout the year. Donations can be dropped off at the shelter. For more information, call (201) 656-7201.
For the 16th year in a row, the Iron Monkey (97 Greene St.) will team up to with the city’s Division of Senior Affairs and the Visiting Homemaker Service of Hudson County to offer a “complimentary Thanksgiving day celebration to the Jersey City family,” according to the restaurant. The restaurant will offer meals at four seating times throughout the day: 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. Reservations are recommenced, although walk-ins will be welcomed. This year, the restaurant – which expects to feed more than 500 people – is asking the community for donations to help defray the anticipated costs of feeding its guests. Food and monetary donations will be accepted through Sunday, Nov. 18.

Those interested in volunteering can also call to offer their assistance. There will be a meeting for volunteers on Wednesday, Nov. 21 from 2 to 5 p.m. Volunteers will work in shifts on Thanksgiving Day from 1 until 5 p.m. To RSVP, donate, or volunteer, call Karen at (201) 435-5756.

On Thanksgiving Day, the Hard Grove Café (319 Grove St.) will gather to offer a hearty meal to anyone who wants to join the restaurant’s staff and regular patrons. The café offers the Thanksgiving Day dinner with assistance from the Jersey City Police Department, which donates turkeys and time. Additional donations of pumpkin pie, potatoes, cranberry sauce, rolls, and stuffing from the community are welcome, as are volunteers. To sign up or get more information call (201) 451-1853.

The Urban Mission Church (505 Newark Ave.) is looking for both volunteers and donations to help with its upcoming Thanksgiving Day dinner. Each year, the church opens its doors to feed the community and is currently in need of prepared foods, perishable items, and utensils. Specifically, the church is asking for donations of turkeys, stuffing, vegetables (string beans, mashed potatoes, etc.), beverage items (juice, milk, ground coffee, tea), desserts, paper plates, plastic utensils, napkins, and plastic cups.

The church is also looking for volunteers who can give a couple hours to help prepare or serve meals on Thanksgiving Day. To volunteer or to make a donation, contact April Kuzas at kusasa@gmail.com.

About 100 meals that will be prepared by volunteers at Urban Mission will be donated to the Jersey City Homeless Advocacy Group (JC-HAG). JC-HAG plans to distribute these hot dinners to the city’s homeless population on Thursday afternoon.

Steve and Yraida Lipski and Coptic Community Services will host their 10th annual traditional Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving Day from noon to 4 p.m. at the Coptic Community Center, at 861 Bergen Ave. For more information, or to donate or volunteer, please call (201) 610-1009
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