Giving Back

Letters to the Editor

Thank You, St. Joseph's Volunteers

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Thank You from St. Joseph Social Service Center

In recognition of National Volunteer Week, we would like to express our gratitude to the countless volunteers that serve the poor and homeless at St. Joseph Social Service Center in Elizabeth (http://www.sjeliz.org).  Whether you make a sandwich, collect toiletries, tutor in the job program, make soup, wrap Christmas gifts, donate food, goods, time, talent, or money, it all adds up to make our center a refuge for those in need.  We simply couldn’t do what we do without you, and we thank you.

This year, we would especially like to thank all of those who volunteer at the Saturday soup kitchen. In February of 1986, when St. Joseph’s began operating from the current location at 118 Division St., a group of volunteers got together to discuss hosting a soup kitchen. Some of those same people still volunteer today. They established a beautiful service model, where guests are welcomed, seated, and served a hot meal. 

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Since April 19, 1986, the following faith communities have served their less fortunate brothers and sisters: St. Helen’s (Westfield), Holy Trinity (Westfield), St. Agnes (Clark), St. John’s (Clark), Holy Spirit (Union), Church of the Little Flower (Berkeley Heights), Immaculate Conception (Elizabeth), and Temple Sha’arey Shalom (Springfield).  While we can add up the number of soup kitchens (1,664), or the meals served (374,400), the true measure of the effort is the dignity and compassion with which the meals are served. The reward is when a guest says: “Thank you for treating me like a human being.” 

With loving gratitude,

Bernadette Murphy, Director

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