Giving thanks in the midst of recovery
Where to volunteer, donate, or get a free meal this Thanksgiving
by E. Assata Wright
Reporter Staff Writer
Nov 18, 2012 | 7035 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
‘Thanksgiving is going to be especially meaningful this year because of all that has happened here recently.’ – Jaclyn Cherubini.
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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.
Thanksgiving will be a somber reminder for most residents of what is most important – family, friends, and community
The overview that follows is similar to what has been written in previous years. However, some perennials have been dropped from the list. More than a few churches, restaurants, or volunteer groups said they had to cancel their usual “community Thanksgiving” dinner because they were still recovering from Hurricane Sandy or because their resources were stretched too thin at this time.

So, as we think of the “needy” this Thanksgiving, keep in mind the term may apply equally to the elderly neighbor and the local pizza parlor that was wiped out, the shut-ins who can’t get to the store, and the deli worker who is now out of work because her employer has decided not to re-open. All may need a little extra help at this time. All may need a little neighborly support.

Union City

The Palisades Emergency Residence Corporation (PERC) at 111 37 St. will host a free multicultural Thanksgiving dinner for its clients on Wednesday, Nov. 21 from 6 to 7 p.m. (Please note, the shelter’s celebration will take place the day before Thanksgiving.) About 200 people are expected to attend, so donations and volunteers are both welcome and vital. PERC is accepting donations of nonperishable food items and paper goods for its Thanksgiving dinner, and as of last week, the shelter was still in need of turkeys!

In addition to items needed for its Thanksgiving dinner, PERC is also asking the community for monetary donations, as well as coats, jackets, gloves, and food for its ongoing food pantry. Donations can be dropped off at the shelter. For more information, please call (201) 348-8150 or visit

On Thursday, Nov. 26, the Brian Stack Civic Association will host Thanksgiving dinner at four different locations in Union City. The four locations include: Saint Anthony of Padua Parish at 615 8th St.; the Robert Waters School, at 2800 Summit Ave.; the North Hudson Islamic Education Center, at 4605 Cottage Pl.; and 501 15th St. At each location dinner will be served between noon and 2 p.m. All dinners are free of charge.

Anyone who wants to volunteer at any of these four locations is asked to arrive at the location of their choice at 11:30 a.m. The Civic Association can be reached at (201) 348-8338.

West New York

St. Joseph of the Palisades in West New York plans to distribute about 182 turkeys to its regular food pantry clients. These clients have been selected based on a lottery system and the church said it will not be able to accommodate additional donations.


The Secaucus Food Pantry expects to feed about 60 Secaucus families on Thanksgiving Day, whose meals will be delivered by members of the Town Council. Lisa Snedeker, director of community and senior services, said the pantry feeds needy families year-round and often makes donations to other shelters and pantries in Hudson County. Snedeker said the pantry currently has a “wish list” of several items which includes such food items as canned tuna fish, instant and canned potatoes, macaroni and cheese, canned meats (turkey, chicken, ham), pork and beans, baked beans, noodle side mixes, canned meals (stew, chili, ravioli, hash), soups, rice and rice mixes, Hamburger Helper/Tuna Helper, pasta, canned tomato products, and pasta sauce. The pantry is also in need of personal hygiene items. To donate food, personal hygiene items, or supermarket gift cards, call (201) 330-2014.

They will also deliver 75 holiday baskets on Nov. 19.


The town of Weehawken plans to distribute about 100 meals to elderly and homebound residents. To receive a dinner, residents must sign up and make a specific request to have a meal delivered. To do that, call (201) 319-6059.

North Bergen/Guttenberg

The Woodcliff Community Church (7605 Palisade Ave. in North Bergen) will host a complimentary lunch for the community on Thursday, Nov. 22 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The meal will include turkey, ham, lasagna, rice, mashed potatoes, string beans, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, and apple pie. All are welcome. For more information, call (201) 936-7630.

Jersey City
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

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.


The Hoboken Homeless Shelter (300 Bloomfield St.) will offer a full day of activities and food for its clients on Thanksgiving Day. Two meals will be served. Lunch will be served at 2:30 p.m. and a traditional Thanksgiving dinner will be offered at 7 p.m. Between the two meals, a film will be shown at 4. Volunteers are welcomed to work at the shelter in shifts that will run from noon until 8 p.m. The shelter is always dire need of paper goods and utensils and this year is no different. Anyone who is willing can make a donation of plastic cups, utensils, plates, or napkins prior before Thanksgiving Day.

“Thanksgiving is going to be especially meaningful this year because of all that has happened here recently,” said shelter Director Jaclyn Cherubini. “We’re just going to try to make this an extra special day for everyone. To make a donation or to volunteer, call Cherubini at (201) 656-5069.

E-mail E. Assata Wright at

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