Elected officials, community groups and others generously donated turkeys throughout Newark this past week in an effort to help families ease the burden of putting on a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
While Mayor Ras Baraka and his team distributed more than 6,000 turkeys on Monday at the JFK Recreation Center, other elected officials also did their part to ensure a turkey on every table this Thanksgiving.
North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos Jr. joined with the mayor, Hispanic Law Enforcement Society of Essex County, the Anibal Ramos Jr. Civic Association and Sen. M. Teresa Ruiz, Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin and Councilmen Luis A. Quintana and Carlos M. Gonzalez to distribute 1,200 turkeys at schools, churches and senior buildings and centers throughout the North Ward.
“We’ve been distributing turkeys every year for many years,” said Ramos, whose office organized the volunteer effort. “This is just one way we try to help those in need in our community. Gathering around the table for a traditional Thanksgiving feast is a tradition that every family should be able to enjoy no matter what their financial status is.”
Ramos’s civic association also organizes a backpack giveaway in September and an annual holiday dinner in December.
Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura and his officers delivered more than 600 turkeys and other foot items to
soup kitchens, food pantries, social service agencies, homeless shelters, houses of worship and schools to insure the availability of Thanksgiving meals and to stock the food shelves for the coming winter months.
It’s the 30th year of the food drive for the long-serving sheriff.
"This project is a labor of love for the members of our department," Fontoura said. "It is our opportunity to share with our less fortunate neighbors, and we're so happy that the community continues to donate and help us as we try and provide Thanksgiving joy to everyone in Essex County."
On Tuesday, state Assemblywoman Shanique Speight along with Pintor Marin Ruiz fed over 600 Central Ward residents and on Wednesday, she distributed Thanksgiving packages to more than 200 parents/legal guardians at participating childcare centers in Newark.
Last Saturday, the Brick Education Network held its second annual South Ward Gives Thanksgiving Dinner sponsored by the South Ward Promise Neighborhood in cooperation with Kings Food Market, Whole Foods, Wegmans and Newark Community Solutions.
The dinner was prepared by Chef Ameer, aka “The Fresh Chef”, known for his soulful, southern recipes and who’s celebrity clients include Beyonce, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Chris Tucker and others.
On Monday, BEN and Kings Food Market provided 400 turkeys complete with all the trimmings to Newark families.
ProudLiving Companies, a New Jersey-based real estate company with a mission of long-term neighborhood revitalization, delivered nearly 1,000 turkeys to 11 locations in five New Jersey municipalities, including Newark.
“For this giveaway, we collaborated with community leaders and gave back in order to nurture and strengthen community bonds,” ProudLiving President and Founder TJ Caleca said. “This growing annual event is a testament to ProudLiving’s dedication to the areas it serves.”