ELIZABETH, NJ – Despite a busy month that included one of the worst incidents in the city’s recent history, Elizabeth Firefighters FMBA Local 9 made time to remember those members of the community who needed help this holiday season.
On Monday, members prepared 80 Thanksgiving dinners with all of the trimmings for participating residents at Elizabeth Towers. The celebration came to being because of the efforts of Diana Jose, a social worker assigned to the residence. Ms. Jose stated, “You brought a smile to their faces!”
Tuesday, members made donations to two local organizations. Turkeys were donated to Missionaries on a Mission. Cerise Simmons, President of Missionaries on a Mission, stated, “Our 2015 goal was to make 200 food baskets, but with the generosity of the community we were able to make and distribute over 300 baskets this Thanksgiving.”
Members also donated turkeys, stuffing, and vegetables to the St. Joseph Social Service Center. Under the leadership of Sister Jacinta Fernandes, the St. Joseph’s staff was hard at work sorting, packing, and distributing food to the growing line of city residents.
Twenty turkeys and gravy were prepared and delivered to the Salvation Army on Wednesday. Captain Jose Paneto, Commanding Officer of the Elizabeth Temple Corps stated, “With your assistance we will be able to accommodate up to 1000 guests for our yearly Thanksgiving dinner.”
This yearly partnership has become a tradition for Local 9. David Bialas, vice president of Local 9 stated, “This week, month, and year have been very busy for our members. Combining the increased calls for service with our diminishing manpower I am very proud of the work our members have done in the community, especially our members who were just appointed to the department. This past month we celebrated the retirements of a number of members who served the city with a long career with more retirements on the horizon. This Thanksgiving we are thankful for their careers and health and wish them the best in their retirement.”