As the holiday season gets under way, the dedicated staff and volunteers at Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark are working tirelessly to bring help and hope to the most vulnerable among us. Nowhere is this more evident than during the recent celebration of Thanksgiving, where the agency's charitable outreach activities were in full swing.
Even as the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged our ability to serve and support as many people as we would like, Catholic Charities staff have implemented numerous measures to ensure that individuals and families in need can be accommodated.
Generous donors gave turkeys and other foods that enabled us to provide more than 4,000 Thanksgiving dinners and other meals to residents in our housing programs over Thanksgiving week. We also provided shelter to 215 people in our emergency, transitional, and permanent supportive housing programs.
Donors included local restauranteur Tim McLoone’s Holiday Express, which donated food and gift bags for more than 200 clients in our shelters. They also organized an all-volunteer virtual holiday concert, which clients were able to watch while enjoying their meals.
Meanwhile, our Emergency Food and Nutrition Network distributed 23 turkeys and 45 bags of food during Thanksgiving week. This equates to about 1,500 pounds of food, enough to provide more than 2,250 meals. Turkeys were donated by Love Farms and Human Needs Food Pantry in Montclair.
Mount Carmel Guild Academy also received donations of 93 bags of food, including frozen turkeys and trimmings for students and their families. At St. Michael's Church in Cranford, volunteers of the parish’s Salt & Light Ministry delivered 60 Thanksgiving meals for our behavioral health clients in the community.
Local parishioners and volunteers brought in homemade donations as well as purchased goods, and then assembled the individual meals, which included turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetables, rolls, cranberry sauce, and pie.
Other outreach activities orchestrated by Catholic Charities included the distribution of ShopRite gift cards to 24 families in the community, and the organization of a special Thanksgiving luncheon for clients of our Workforce Development Division. Special thanks to Newark Council President Mildred Crump for her generous donations.
As we prepare for the winter months and continue to navigate the challenges of the pandemic, those in need throughout our community will face daunting obstacles. We remain grateful for the efforts of all within Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark for their unwavering efforts in their behalf.