EDISON, NJ -  The Edison Housing Authority partnered with the Indian Business Association (IBA), the Metuchen- Edison New Jersey Branch of the NAACP, and the Edison Lioness Club to launch Operation Warm Heart on Friday, November 16.  Volunteers distributed 160 turkeys and nonperishable food items to residents from Robert E. Holmes Gardens and Julius Engel Gardens.

This was the first time such an event took place at the Edison Housing Authority.  Residents from each of the 160 units were able to receive a package containing a turkey and dry foods.

“Council President Ajay Patil, Mahesh Bhagia, from the Mayor’s office, and Shannon Peng, from the Edison Board of Education helped coordinate the effort with IBA and NAACP volunteers” said Dhiren Amin, President of IBA, whose association sponsored the turkeys. “We were also blessed to once again work with the NAACP. It’s a partnership we are so grateful to have.”  Mr. Amin also thanked Councilman Joe Coyle for helping with the event. 

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Deborah Hurley, Executive Director for the Housing Authority, explained how the event came about in a meeting with Reggie Johnson, President of  the NAACP, Edison Council President Ajay Patil and leaders from the IBA. Together, they addressed the needs of the families at the Edison Housing Authority explained Ms. Hurley. “I asked them if they could help provide turkey packages to our families and they instantaneously said yes and together they pulled their resources and manpower.” 

Growing partnerships with neighborhood organizations have afforded the Edison Housing Authority the opportunity to provide much needed resources and better services to its residents.  “One of my goals is to bring programming to our families” said Ms. Hurley adding “we just embraced each other because we came together as one knowing it was for the greater good of helping families who need it. And we feel good about being able to provide a little bit of Thanksgiving cheer ahead of time.”

The organizations were able to quickly arrange funds for the turkeys and helped put together the packages for the families. The event was organized within a week.  

The residents were filled with gratitude according to Ms. Hurley who described the reaction of residents.  “One senior resident said to me this is the first time this has ever happened here. We so appreciate this.”  

Mr. Johnson described the bond developing between the communities.  “They appreciate the fact that there are outsiders that are concerned about their well-being. And the fact that we were able to come together and share stories – the connection was really strong” he said. Mr. Johnson also emphasized that this working group would be organizing future projects to benefit the residents of the area.  “This is just the beginning” he said.