NORTH CALDWELL, NJ - Saturday night, November 17th, was the scene of happy chaos in the downstairs kitchen of “Charlie’s Place” at Notre Dame Church. What began at 8pm didn’t end until 8am the next morning.
The smell of baked goods filled the air while about 20 kids crowded into the cooking area, each working on their own baking project. Chocolate Chip and Oatmeal Raisin Cookies were coming together next to Cupcakes, Chocolate Cake and White Chocolate Brownies; many of the items were being made from scratch. Each of the kids had to keep track of their own baking times; there were no timers allowed since it would only add to the confusion. Many made numerous creations throughout the night, and more kids with more recipes and ingredients kept arriving.
Throughout the night, while most of us slept, members of the Youth Group and their Pastoral Associate Joy Zucco McDonald, worked on baking projects that were then donated on Sunday to an organization for those in need in Sea Bright, NJ called Sea Bright Rising.
“The kids worked throughout the night to bring baked goods to the residents of Sea Bright. This is personal for all of us because we all have visited there, we all have vacationed on the Jersey shore."
Notre Dame’s Communication Director, Terrie Michaels, has participated with the Youth Group for years. She explained how the evening came about:
“For the past couple of years we have used this night to sleep outside in boxes on the front lawn of the church. We light a bonfire, and it’s very instructive for the kids to get the sense of what a homeless person experiences, what it’s like to own literally nothing but a cardboard box.”
“This year, however, after the Sandy power outages and families having no heat, the Youth Group decided instead to do something that would benefit those still without daily necessities,” Michaels continued. “They already had a food drive and got supplies over to the Rockaways and Hoboken. The kids thought of baking sweets to add something special to the meals of those down the shore.”
They weren’t expected to sleep at all throughout the night but Terrie was happy to report: “I think I got about 2 hours of sleep, which is probably about the average for all of us. The kids may have slept a little longer. But they did stay up late and a few were up until after 3am baking and wrapping!”
Church Member Mike, who is a professional baker and was there assisting, commented:
“Working through the night to prepare baked goods for the morning is normal for me, I’ve been baking at early morning hours for years now.”
Terrie commented, “They really did a great job. All the desserts were placed in little bags, wrapped up nicely, and there were pans and pans of brownies - even a bundt cake!”
Early Sunday morning, the group delivered the goods to a fire house in Sea Bright where Woody from Woody’s Ocean Grille in Sea Bright is now set up and cooking.
According to Woody’s Facebook page, they apparently fed more than 5,000 people this past weekend at lunch and as of Monday they were in dire need of more food:
"As you’ve probably heard we served about 5000+ lunch’s Saturday and Sunday. As a result we ripped through product and we need to replenish the following ASAP:
Burgers, chicken, cheese slices, ground beef, sausage, onions, peppers, lunch salads (potato and mac), wings, wing sauce, bacon, pasta noodles……Lunch is huge and we expect a huge crowd Friday, Saturday and Sunday. So please do what you can and get us some product down here quickly. We use it….Come see it for yourself. It makes Sea Bright more productive. Thanks. Woody"
Notre Dame Church
359 Central Ave.
North Caldwell NJ 07006
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Notre-Dame-Church-North-Caldwell-NJ/145121172589