Giving thanks
Where to donate food, volunteer, or get a free Thanksgiving meal or turkey
by Marilyn Baer and Al Sullivan
Reporter Staff Writer
Nov 19, 2017 | 5162 views | 0 0 comments | 166 166 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Although people go undernourished every day of the year, hunger around Thanksgiving and the holidays has always been a rallying call for some people to serve those in need.

On Sundays all year, Jersey City Peace Movement Director Erik-Anders Nilsson and members his group gather to feed the hungry. For these activists, the nation’s longest running war in Afghanistan only makes the situation more dire, because they say war diverts resources from needs such as caring for the homeless.

This year, just like every year, The Hudson Reporter provides information about how to get a free meal, donate supplies, or donate time around the Thanksgiving holidays. Below is our roster of places to help, and get help. Please call these locations in advance to confirm the events or needs before coming over.

In many cases, local churches often also provide meals, and people can call places of worship or city halls to find out about local food pantries and how to get help.


In previous years, King’s Kitchen, a collaborative effort between several local churches, has delivered meals to elderly shut-ins in town during Thanksgiving. To see if they are having anything this year, contact Mrs. Bowman at

In addition, Secaucus has an emergency food pantry year ’round that gives food to needy families. It’s located at 101 Centre Ave. Call 201- 330-2014 for more information or to donate.

North Bergen

The Woodcliff Community Reformed Church, at Palisade Avenue and 76th Street, will hold its annual free Thanksgiving luncheon on Nov. 23, Thanksgiving Day, from 12 to 3 p.m. For the event, the church will team up with Mayor Nicholas Sacco and CarePoint Health. The event will also feature a Thanksgiving message from Pastor Gregory Dunlap. The church served over 400 people during the event last year. Contact (201) 869-4555 for more information.

In addition, the annual NB CARES Thanksgiving Drive will take place Nov. 20 at the Recreation Center, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The center is located at 6300 Meadowview Ave. Proof of residency is required upon pickup. Call Aimee at 201-392-0229 for more information.

Union City

The Brian P. Stack Civic Association has an annual tradition of handing out free turkeys to needy residents of the town and the legislative district around Thanksgiving. Stack, who is also state Senator – representing towns including Union City, Hoboken, Weehawken, and part of Jersey City –has delivered turkeys to constituents in need in those towns.

It has said in the past that it donates around 10,000 turkeys annually. A town spokesperson did not know when the association will deliver the turkeys, by press time, but contact the town at (201) 348-5700.

Also, a free dinner was planned at five locations in Union City on Thursday, Nov. 23, from 12 to 2 p.m. If you want to volunteer, please arrive by 11 a.m. You can call Stack at 201-376-1942 for more information.

The locations are St. Anthony’s Church on Eighth Street in that town, Miftaahul Uloom Academy on 15th Street, Robert Waters School on Summit Avenue, Washington School on New York Avenue, and Roosevelt School on Hudson Avenue.

West New York

West New York will hold its Senior Citizen Thanksgiving Lunch on Saturday, Nov. 18 at the Memorial High School Freshman Academy, 54th Street and Broadway, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. West New York seniors are free; out-of-towners, however, have to pay $10 for entry. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Senior Citizen Center at (201) 295-5144.


The Weehawken senior center, 201 Highwood Ave., will hold its annual Thanksgiving luncheon party Saturday, Nov. 18, from 12 to 3 p.m. It is only for seniors in town. Contact (201) 319-6060 for more information.

Also, see the prior entry about State Sen. Brian Stack in Union City.

Jersey City

Some 2,000 Thanksgiving meals will be served on Wednesday, Nov. 22 from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at Fountain of Salvation Church, 324 Communipaw Ave. in Jersey City, due to the efforts of Freeholder Bill O’Dea’s South Hudson Civic Association, the Rotary Club Of Jersey City, the National Honor Society and Key Club of McNair Academic High School Phi Theta Kappa, members of Hudson County Community College, and the Fountain Of Salvation Church.

Another 500 Meals will be packed and provided by the South Hudson Civic Association and delivered to seniors, and needy/homeless persons.

On Thanksgiving Day, Thursday Nov. 23 from 9 a.m. to 12, another 1,500 meals will be packed and provided to the needy/homeless persons and to the inmates of Hudson County Corrections facilities.

“We are seeking turkeys and pumpkin pies donations as well as volunteer drivers with cars to deliver meals,” said Riaz Wahid.

Senior citizens who will need a meal delivered should call (201) 433-0477. For more information, to donate, or to volunteer, contact Wahid at (201) 669-7608 or email: to receive meals or for donations.

At 124 Storms Ave., Monique’s Techniques and the Mo Hair Foundation will hold their 21st annual complimentary Thanksgiving dinner for the community on Nov. 23 from 11a.m to 2 p.m. Volunteers must sign up beforehand online at

On Wednesday, Nov. 22, AngelaCARES, Inc. is having its 7th Annual Thanksgiving Feed The Seniors’ dinner at the Golden Door Charter School, 3044 Kennedy Blvd., Jersey City. Volunteers are welcome. The organization will have different shifts starting from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Getting food and utensils ready to be delivered to event site location starts at 9:30 a.m. and the table set up starts at noon. Food preparation and packaging will begin at 1 p.m. Deliveries will be made between 2 and 7 p.m. Clean up is from 7 to 8 p.m.

They can also use help the night before to assist with food preparation. For more information go to or call (201) 685-7273

St. John the Baptist and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel will serve their annual hot turkey dinner with all the fixings on Nov. 23 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 3026 Kennedy Blvd. The dinners will be served in St. John’s school hall. Anyone who is housebound and would like a dinner delivered should call Jimmy King at (551) 580-4126. They also need volunteers. For more information or to volunteer, call Our Lady of Mt. Carmel at (201) 435-7080 or St John the Baptist at (201) 653-8814.

Temple Beth-El, 2419 Kennedy Blvd., will host an Interfaith Community Thanksgiving Service on Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. with a combined choir, special music, leaders from different congregations, and more. The location is Metropolitan AME Zion Church at the corner of Bergen and Belmont avenues.

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 38 Duncan Ave., will hold a potluck brunch on Thanksgiving at 11 a.m., and on Friday, Nov. 24 it will hold its Last Friday Lunch at its homeless drop in center at 11:30. For more information or to volunteer call (201) 433-4922

The Iron Monkey Restaurant & Bar, 99 Greene St., will host its 20th annual Thanksgiving dinner on Nov. 23, with seating times at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2:00 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. For more information, contact the Iron Monkey at (201) 435-5756. Reservations are preferred, but not mandatory, and the meal is free.

The Open Episcopal Anglican Church of the Incarnation, 68 Storms Ave., will host its annual event on Monday, Nov. 27, from 4 to 6 p.m. For more information call (201) 434-4810.

Team Walker, an organization that seeks to create positive alternatives for the Jersey City community, will mark the 19th anniversary of its annual Thanksgiving outreach program by distributing over 400 free turkeys and bags of pre-registered area residents.

Volunteers, including Team Walker staff and local seniors, will distribute the turkeys and trimmings starting at 5 p.m. at the Team Walker Learning Center, 373 Communipaw Ave. To register or for more information, call (973) 202-4489.


St. Matthew Trinity Lutheran Church, at Eighth and Washington streets, will host a Thanksgiving breakfast from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 23.

“People are welcome to volunteer or to come and sit for a hot meal,” said Pastor Rose Beeson.

She said that the church is also looking for donations if those who can’t volunteer want to be helpful in other ways.

“Donations of coffee, breakfast meat, fresh fruit, and juice are always appreciated, as are donations of new thick athletic socks, hats, gloves, or scarves,” she said.

People are also welcome to volunteer during their weekly LunchTime Ministry, which runs Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and is open year round to those in need,

To volunteer, people should reach out to Stanley “Spike” Enzweiler, the LunchTime Ministry Program Manager, at Doors open at 7:45 a.m. and close at 12 p.m.

Just a few blocks away at Seventh and Garden streets, Mario’s Pizzeria will also offer – as they do each year -- a free Thanksgiving meal to anyone in need or who can’t make it home for the holidays. According to Mario Albunia Jr., they serve an average of 200 people on Thanksgiving, providing everything from turkey to pie with all the fixings.

He said the doors typically open around 10 a.m., and they tend to wrap up around 8 p.m. or 9 p.m.

“It’s free for everyone. A lot of people have nowhere to go,” said Albunia. “We get a lot of Stevens students some years when they can’t make it home for the holiday.”

He said that while volunteers aren’t needed, donations are always welcome. In fact, all of the food is donated from people in the city, including turkeys.

“The night before we close up a little early and actually start cooking,” he said. “It’s fun to meet a lot of new people and it’s kind of nice because we see a lot of the same crew every year.”

Anyone can donate food during working hours. Mario’s Pizza can be reached at (201) 659-0808 with any questions.

The Hoboken Shelter at 300 Bloomfield St. will welcome both volunteers and those in need for Thanksgiving, according to Executive Director Jaclyn Cherubini.

“We will have a bounty of Thanksgiving volunteers who come, it turns into hundreds of volunteers,” she said. “Volunteers need a place to go to. We don’t turn anyone away, and we will be surrogate family for everyone, both those who volunteer and those we serve.”

She said the first volunteer shift begins at 6 p.m. and ends around 8 p.m.

The doors will open to serve people at 7:15 p.m. and she expects to feed about 100 people for Thanksgiving dinner.

She said the shelter is looking for donations, including gravy, butter, tinfoil, coffee and “a good old fashioned pie is always good.”

“All those things people run to the store to get at the last minute,” she added.

She said typically they also need donations of coffee, coffee cups, milk, and sugar as well.

The shelter also has an wish list where people can purchase and ship donations directly to the shelter at For more information or to volunteer please call the shelter at (201) 657-5069.

On Tuesday, Nov. 21 the Hoboken Police Department Police Superior Officers Association and members of the Hoboken Fire Department will provide about 150 Thanksgiving meal ingredients to Hoboken residents in the Housing Authority and Applied buildings, according to Det. Edgardo Cruz. The turkey drive begins at 10 a.m. and ShopRite donates all the food, including frozen turkeys and sides like mashed potatoes, which the police and fire departments then put into bags and deliver to those in need.

The Walk the Walk Foundation will also provide a Thanksgiving dinner to over 100 Hoboken senior citizens the day before Thanksgiving on Nov. 22. The meal will be catered by Forking Good Food and include everything from mashed potatoes to turkey. The dinner will take place at Hoboken’s Multi Service Center, 134 Grand St., from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The festivities will also include a Frank Sinatra impersonator, which the foundation’s Lisa Young says is a big hit.

She said the foundation is also looking for donations and “as many volunteers as possible.”

To volunteer, contact Lisa or Russell Young at Volunteers are needed from 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Donations can be made via the foundation’s website at .

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