More than 350 Sussex County families will be able to enjoy a Thanksgiving turkey with all the trimmings this year, thanks to the generosity of local businesses, churches and individuals who donated voluminous amounts of food for Project Self-Sufficiency participants this November. Agency staff and volunteers recently bagged hundreds of frozen turkeys, along with fresh produce, cans of cranberry sauce, vegetables, stuffing mix, dinner rolls, and freshly baked pies and distributed them to local families.
This year, 2,000 pounds of fresh vegetables were provided by longtime Project Self-Sufficiency volunteer Michael McNamara and his family in recognition of McNamara’s recent birthday. “My whole family is involved,” noted McNamara, who has supported the organization for more than 30 years. “Not only is it my birthday, not only is it my wedding anniversary, but Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. All you have to do is be grateful and share what you have. I have been fortunate in my life, so I am sharing this with my whole family. We’re all in it together.”
The First Presbyterian Church of Newton Youth Group, along with help from the congregation, donated 200 freshly baked apple and pumpkin pies. The supplies for the pie baking were donated by the congregation and the apples were donated by Race’s Farm in Blairstown. “This is our twelfth year baking pies for Project Self-Sufficiency,” noted Colleen Duffy, Associate for Family Nurture at the First Presbyterian Church. “It has become a beloved tradition and teaches the kids the importance of sharing God’s love with those in need in our community.”
Fresh fruit was supplied by John Mathews, Hinkley Auto Sales, and retired Project Self-Sufficiency staff member and current volunteer, Stephanie Sumpman. Frozen turkeys were donated by the ad hoc group of approximately 20 men and women known loosely as the College of Knowledge; the donation was spearheaded by Project Self-Sufficiency Leadership Council member Roy Knutsen. The group meets at Kathy’s restaurant in Fredon and has supported everything from baseball teams to the local fire department.
“The generosity of our friends and neighbors towards Project Self-Sufficiency participants is deeply appreciated during the holiday season,” commented Deborah Berry-Toon, Executive Director of Project Self-Sufficiency. “We have a lot to be thankful for this year.”
Project Self-Sufficiency has provided services to families in the New Jersey counties of Sussex, Warren and Hunterdon for more than 30 years. Programs include career guidance, computer training, help with obtaining a high school diploma, parenting skills classes, legal assistance and education, financial workshops, health education, childcare and family activities. The agency offers help around the holidays, formal dresses during prom season, and assistance with emergency basic needs, such as food and clothing to its participants. Most services are free, and many are open to the public.
To donate, or to find out more about the programs and services available at Project Self-Sufficiency, call 973-940-3500 or 844-807-3500, or visit www.projectselfsufficiency.org.