JEFFERSON – A Thanksgiving dinner, complete with all the trimmings, was offered by area churches Thursday, welcoming guests with food and fellowship.
In Jefferson, Delores Davenport and her granddaughter, Joy McFadden, took advantage of the turkey dinner offered at Hurdtown United Methodist. New to the area and living next door to the church, Davenport thought Thanksgiving would be “a good day to reach out to people and make friends,” she said, adding that the food was “wonderful” and the church offered a beautiful setting for a holiday dinner.
Volunteers from Hurdtown shared dinner duties with their counterparts from The United Methodist Church of Lake Hopatcong with both churches acting as host at the event. According to Paul Zorn, pastor at both churches, his congregants made the decision two years ago to begin offer a free Thanksgiving meal, feeling there was a real need in the community to reach out.
“Sometimes people will be alone,” he said. “An awful lot of folks are having trouble making ends meet,” he added. This was the second year for this event at Hurdtown.
For first-time volunteer Jacob Romeo, 10, helping people that “don’t really have family to go to” and making sure they had food made his Thanksgiving rewarding.
“I will come back next year,” he said.
Approximately two dozen meals were served at Hurdtown on Thursday, said Pastor Zorn, adding that a few meals were delivered to people who were unable to make it to the church. The leftovers would be delivered to the Market Street Mission in Morristown he said.
A power outage in Hopatcong, the result of Wednesday’s snowstorm, created a bit an issue for the seventh annual Thanksgiving dinner hosted by three
of the boroughs churches, including Byram Bay Christian, West Side Methodist and St. Jude Parish, where the event is held.
“We had some challenges today,” said Ken Adams, pastor at Byram Bay Christian Church.
According to Pastor Adams volunteers arrived early Thursday morning at St. Jude only to find out the church, and the area, were without power.
“I have the mayor (Sylvia Petillo) on speed dial,” he said. “Fortunately she takes my calls.”
After a series of phone calls between Petillo, Pastor Adams, JCP&L and members of Defiance Engine Co. #3, the entire event was moved to the firehouse on Hopatchung Road. The group was faced with yet another obstacle after it was discovered the firehouse was out of propane.
“As luck would have it we had a 100-gallon propane tank sitting at the church,” said Adams.
Once the turkeys and all the trimmings were cooked about 48 people turned out for dinner, including some who were out of power and some who just needed a hot meal. Pastor Adams also said meals were sent to the borough police department employees and rescue squad members on duty.
“I love coming here,” said Joe Brezina from Landing who mentioned that his living conditions were “not the best but I’ve got a roof over my head.”
“I’m down with the Lord and I’m down with a free meal. I enjoy the ambiance and the food is most excellent.”