PATERSON, NJ - Christmas came early for nearly 700 Paterson residents on December 16 as Adenah Bayoh hosted her annual Breakfast for Dinner at IHOP in Center City Mall.
What has been taking place for 10 years at Bayoh’s other IHOP location in Newark has become a welcome staple in Paterson, and is now in its third year.
“It’s the right thing to do,” the entrepreneur said when asked why she hosted the event. With every table full, a line out the door, and being closed to paying customers, Bayoh, standing behind the buffet serving pancakes, wasn’t looking for any credit for her generosity.
“So many people go without the little things,” she said greeting another guest with a warm smile. “This is a little thing I can do to show gratitude.”
With Bayoh’s own children by her side the working mother offered that the gathering was also about family and “togetherness.”
Longtime resident Doreen Johnson was among the guests who made her way across town for the meal. The longtime resident of Presidential Towers, and a recent participant in the Voting Block initiative, Johnson told TAPinto Paterson that she felt good to be out with the community.
Asked for her thoughts on Bayoh’s willingness to serve so many people, for free, Johnson said that it showed “people really do care about each other.”
“Paterson’s making an effort,” Johnson concluded as she made her way to the food line.
Too many people in Paterson, Lily Rivera said, “don’t have a lot.” Sitting with her husband and three children, all smiling after their feast, Rivera suggested that while the city isn’t perfect, suffering from crime and dirty streets, “things are improving.”
The dinner, the young mother said, was “really nice,” the type of family friendly event she’d like to see more of.
As children left the restaurant they were greeted by members of the Paterson Police Department’s Community Policing Division who were on hand distributing age appropriate toys.
The dinner came just two days after a group of 12 friends, in an act one said they hoped would “inspire others,” tipped a waitress at the same restaurant $1,200.
“You don’t need to be of money, or have hundreds of friends, to make a big difference,” Zellie Thomas said.
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