HACKENSACK, NJ — The Hackensack Jr. Basketball Team held a wildly successful Turkey Giveaway at Carver Park on Saturday, November 23, distributing a whopping 405 turkeys to residents in need.
Hosted by Deputy Mayor Dave Sims, the event, in its third year, aims to help the less fortunate in the Hackensack community enjoy their Thanksgiving holiday.
“It started as an opportunity to help those in the community who may not be able to have a nice Thanksgiving dinner without the help of the community,” said Gerri Craig, Delta Sigma Theta, Bergen County Alumnae, one of the participating organizations.
Members from other organizations who were also on-hand included the Omega Psi Phi, Inc., - Nu Beta Beta and Hackensack High School Drop-In Center.
Enthusiastic city residents stood outside Carver Park in two long lines Saturday morning, vouchers in hand, waiting for their turn to saunter into the Alfred Jones Community Center where volunteers wearing winsome smiles were stationed with bags of turkeys to the sounds of R&B and classic hip-hop.
“I am overwhelmed by the turnout of the sponsors this year and all the volunteers who came out and helped,” said Sims. “Every year it gets bigger and better.”
The initial goal was to giveaway 200 turkeys, but that number was well surpassed thanks to the generous sponsors.
Donations were received from more than 15 local sponsors, which included the following: McDonald’s, Sorce Co., Alfred Sanzari, Maschio’s Food Services, Inc., Dr. Suri, Rivkin Radler, The Pain, Spine and Sports Institute, Glaze Donuts, Inserra Supermarkets, Berkeley College, Hackensack Brewery, AAA, Prager Metis, Paula’s Soul Food Cafe, Dr. David L. Broadnax, The Labrosse Foundation, Meridia Metro, Meridia on Main and Linda Baer.
The volunteers were led in prayer before the turkeys were handed out and city leaders expressed their gratitude.
Hackensack Superintendent Robert Sanchez, who has served as the district leader for the past year, said he derives great joy in working in Hackensack.
“I grew up in Hudson County from a relatively poor background and I love working with communities where I can actually make a contribution and help the kids succeed,” said Sanchez. “I’m very excited about being here in the community. It’s great to see so many people come out in the spirit of volunteerism.”
Hackensack Mayor John Labrosse echoed those sentiments.
“It’s so great so see everyone from the community here, all the sororities, fraternities from the neighborhoods. It’s a great day,” said Labrosse. “This has been the third year of the junior basketball of Hackensack doing this turkey giveaway. It’s gotten better every year. It’s a blessing to have this in our neighborhood, and it wouldn’t happen without our sponsors who give all this stuff to us. Dave works hard to get all this stuff.”
“I’m already looking forward to next year,” said Sims after the event. “I want to wish each and everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. Thank you to all the sponsors that made this event possible."
Sims thanked the volunteers and the Hackensack School District Administration, in addition to photographers Gary Terzzano and Marcel Holley of Cel's Photography, videographer Robert and DJ Barry B.