HOPATCONG – Angelina Scardigno from Hopatcong usually spends Thanksgiving with close friends. This year she found herself without a place to go because her friends were out of town. She was looking for a place to go and she knew she wanted to spend Thanksgiving with “other Christian people.”
Gene Pfeiffer, who lives alone in Hopatcong, was looking for a “good meal” and some company on Thanksgiving. Gerard Massei was seeking “fellowship.”
The Byram Bay Community Church hosted its sixth annual Thanksgiving Day dinner, Thursday, offering turkey with all the trimmings and, for people like Scardigno, Pfeiffer and Massei, a place to go.
“We are reaching out to anyone who doesn’t have a place to go or the means to have a meal,” said Rev. Ken Adams, pastor at BBCC.
Three churches in Hopatcong participate in the event. BBCC provides the food and drink. West Side United Methodist Church provides all the deserts and the dinner is held at St. Jude’s Parish hall.
Volunteers from BBCC, girl scouts from Hopatcong troop 1856 and borough residents staffed this year’s event. The Rev. Karen Adams, pastor at BBCC, led a group of volunteers in the kitchen, beginning the day at 8:30am, and preparing enough food to feed 100 people. The volunteers served about 50 meals Thursday, sending visitors home with containers of leftovers to ensure no food went to waste.
Xuan Breaux, who usually spends Thanksgiving with good friends, attended Thursday’s dinner to say goodbye to local friends and to members of the BBCC congregation because she is days away from moving to Florida.
“We turned down quite a few invites to spend it with our church,” said Breaux.
While his wife was in the kitchen finishing the cooking, Pastor Adams was at the wheel of the BBCC bus providing transportation to four local residents.
“Someone donated a 24-passenger bus to the church a couple of years ago,” said Rev. Adams. “We use it Sunday mornings and pick up about a dozen people. It’s another way to reach out to people,” he said.
The Hurdtown United Methodist Church in Lake Hopatcong hosted their first-ever Thanksgiving Day dinner Thursday, getting help from Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church and Lake Hopatcong United Methodist Church.
According to Hurdtown congregant Bo Ferguson, who suggested the dinner then organized the event, about a dozen people came to the church hall for dinner; a half dozen people come for take-out and volunteers delivered meals to four local families. Everyone was also given leftovers pre-packed in take-out tins. Leftover food was donated to the Market Street Mission in Morristown.
“I thought we’d get more people at the church,” he said. But he said, people from all over where willing to volunteer with whatever needed done.
“Throughout the week we had ten or twelve volunteers a day helping,” he said. “On Thanksgiving we had 26 volunteers show up. Some from Star of Sea, Lake Hopatcong Methodist and the neighborhood.”
“Church people are always your family,” said Scardigno after finishing her meal surrounded by people from the BBCC. “You might not always know it but…” she said smiling.
The Rev. Ken Adams, pastor at Byram Bay Community Church, welcomes guests to Thanksgiving Day dinner.