By STEVE LENOX
PATERSON, NJ – Thousands of Paterson families that otherwise may not have will enjoy Thanksgiving meals in their homes thanks to the generosity of several individuals and organizations across the city.
On Tuesday, TAPinto Paterson was on hand at the NJCDC Great Falls Youth Center where cars lined up throughout the day and staff and volunteers helped load them up with 500 food boxes, including a turkey and all the trimmings—including cranberry sauce, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, vegetables, corn muffin mix, corn, and desserts. made possible a grant of CARES Act funds which NJCDC recently received from the State of New Jersey.
“Every year we provide a Thanksgiving feast – a turkey and a box full of all the trimmings – to 100 families,” Bob Guarasci, founder and CEO of NJCDC said. “This year, given the tremendous need due to COVID, we were able to win resources to expand our initiative to 500 families. And we will be doing the same thing right before the Christmas holiday as well.”
At the same time, on the other side of Paterson, St. Paul’s CDC was also doing their part to help families in need, their efforts leading to the distribution of 800 Thanksgiving packages throughout the city, primarily through Paterson’s Full Service Community Schools.
“It is a blessing to deliver this distribution event once again. I have personally been a part of twenty of these holiday distributions and it never gets old. Thanksgiving is a time of gratitude, thankfulness, and to be able to provide families with the support they need during and extremely difficult time in our world. It is both humbling and very much needed,” commented Richard C. Williams, SPCDC Executive Director.
Later on Tuesday Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly led an effort at the Masonic Temple on Broadway during which an additional 440 turkeys were distributed with the help of Integrity Lodge, Zone 6ix, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, and several other supporters.
“Thanksgiving is a family holiday and in Paterson we are all family,” Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly said. “I’m grateful that despite everything we’ve all faced this year these groups still exercised their passion for service and gave so much to others.”
On Sunday, continuing their own tradition of service, Freeholder Assad Ahkter and the Islamic Center of Passaic County (ICPC) teamed up to give away 250 turkeys to families in need.
“Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday because not only does it give us the opportunity to have a shared experience with those we love, but also the chance to share with others who we do not know and who may be less fortunate,” Akhter told TAPinto Paterson. “For the second straight year I am grateful for the chance to share a small piece of this holiday experience with others through our Turkey Giveaway and I am truly thankful for partners like the Islamic Center of Passaic County and Faces of Fallen Fathers for making this effort possible.”