In the spirit of giving
Across the city, NJ residents from near and far volunteered time to make this holiday special
by E. Assata Wright
Reporter staff writer
Nov 25, 2012 | 4217 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Local activists Oscar Lakra, Imtiaz Sayed, and Riaz Wahid distribute food donated from the Urban Mission to people around Journal Square on Thanksgiving Day.
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“No matter what your job is today, no matter what your assignment is, I want you to do it from your heart. Anybody can move something from here to there. That’s not what today is about. Today isn’t about the food. It’s about showing love for people who may not have felt loved in a really long time.”

With that charge, David Brudnicki, senior pastor of the Urban Mission, rallied about 60 volunteers on Thanksgiving Day. The Urban Mission, at 505 Newark Ave., was one of several places in the city where New Jersey residents – some from as far away as Lyndhurst – came to volunteer their time to help feed the elderly, homeless, disabled, and others who just didn’t want to spend the holiday alone and decided to spend it with their neighbors instead.

For some volunteers, giving their time on this day is now an annual ritual, for others it was the first time they had done so, and said they were motivated by Hurricane Sandy.

“We wanted to volunteer with some organization. But we called too late and at most places you had to go through either a background check or get training, and we missed the cutoff,” said one Jersey City resident who only gave her name as Jennifer.


‘I said I had to do something.’ – Jennifer, a Jersey City resident who cooked and distributed food to homeless people at Journal Square on Thanksgiving Day


Jennifer and her partner Earnest spent part of their Thanksgiving afternoon giving hot home-cooked meals to the homeless people at Journal Square.

“I said I had to do something. I spent nine days without power and I know what that was like. I couldn’t imagine what it was like for these guys.”

Several other residents also gravitated to Journal Square to hand out free hot traditional Thanksgiving meals to the homeless and other people who passed by who just needed to eat.

E-mail E. Assata Wright at

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