BYRAM TOWNSHIP, NJ – After recovering from the almost two week stint without power as a result of Hurricane Sandy, Salt Gastropub began its recovery process, and hosted their community Thanksgiving dinner yesterday.
Staff and volunteers served dinners to nearly 20 members of the community who came to the restaurant for the free special event if they were stressed out from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, or maybe had no family in the area to spend the holidays with. Volunteers also delivered meals to Newton Medical Center, both the Byram Township and Andover Township Police Departments, and, one of their guests left with food for someone in the area they knew who was in need.
“You guys have floored me, the Salt Army is amazing,” posted Bradley Boyle, one of Salt Gastropub’s owners on his Facebook Page during yesterday’s early hours. “Just a round number, 1,700 lbs. of turkey, 70 lbs. of sweet potato, 60 lbs. red potato, 75 lbs white potato, 100 lbs. vegetables, 50 lbs. fresh cranberries, 50 lbs. stuffing, 70 lbs. fresh ham, hundreds of canned goods, 80 liters soda, 150 juice boxes, two huge bags of fresh rosemary.”
Boyle continued the list, “Ten plus gallons of soup from Andre’s in Newton, countless fresh pies from All in the Icing in Netcong, placemats from Art Magic in Netcong, paper products from The Women’s Health Forum, and so many more people. My philosophy has always been that it is amazing how much can be done if a lot of people do just a little, so much can be accomplished. Thank you all! The Salt Community is an army amongst itself.”
One of their volunteers baked up pumpkin bread, area girl scouts brought cranberry walnut bread, Byram Christian Fellowship which meets at the Adam Todd on Sundays donated pies, and ShopRite of Byram donated rolls.
The “Salt Army” Boyle has referred to, in addition to the donations, began preparing the meal on Monday, with two chefs assigned, as well as other members of the staff, for the special community dinner held today, for members of the community who may not have had a place to go this Thanksgiving.
The Alternative Press wrote about Salt’s hosting of the dinner, with all of its partners in force helping, here. And after the collection of the food, the work began.
On Wednesday night, the first restaurant had take out dinners for Byram Township residents, with pickup at Salt Studio. Byram Township was one of the last communities in Sussex County to have its power restored, with its municipal building and police department still operating on generators for almost two weeks.
And yesterday the staff arrived to the restaurant at 8 a.m. to start cooking, and the rest of the staff at 10:30 a.m. for setup. Musician Jon Wozniak, who usually plays at Salt Gastropub on Friday nights, spent time there from noon until 3 p.m., when the meal was served.
Byram Township Mayor James Oscovitch started off the event with a special grace, and prayer.
“They really enjoyed it,” said Laurie Boyle, one of Salt's owners, about the guests who came to their establishment. “One couple arrived 10 minutes after it started, and has been here for three hours.”
The remainder of any unused donated food was slated for delivery to area food pantries, and leftovers to the Red Cross.
With the abundance of food received, on top of the meal Salt Gastropub prepared, Salt donated supplies as well to George Mandakis, who is involved with “Storm Chefs”, a non-profit group providing relief to residents throughout New Jersey, and Lower Manhattan, who were impacted by Hurricane Sandy. The chefs involved, Boyle said, are cooking out of Jon Bon Jovi’s Soul Kitchen, a community restaurant where customers donate monies, or time to pay for their meals.
“We were able to donate an incredible amount of food,” said Bradley Boyle.
"All the volunteers were so excited to be here," said Jennifer Hornung, Salt Gastropub's General Manager.
One Byram Township resident, who wished not to be named, and simply described himself as “someone who cares,” was there for the Salt Community Dinner, to volunteer his time. He had read a news article about the dinner, and said, “What a great thing.”
So moved by the Boyle’s and staff, this resident offered to do anything, “I’ll even help scrub the floor.”
Instead, he ended up spending his time in the kitchen doing dishes.
“It’s amazing what these people have done after all they’ve been through,” he concluded.
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