PATERSON, N.J. - More than 1,000 people enjoyed a free Pre-Thanksgiving meal at Oasis in Paterson on Tuesday.
The food was donated by The Market Basket (Franklin Lakes) and local business' and organizations including Unilever (Englewood Cliffs), UPS (Wayne), Temple Sholom (West Essex); St. Joseph’s Healthcare System (Paterson, Wayne, Cedar Grove), William Paterson University (Wayne), and New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, all lent a helping hand to serve all the guests.
“The Market Basket from Franklin Lakes has provided meals for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter to Oasis every year since we started 20 years ago.” said the Executive Director of Oasis Jennifer Brady.
All attendees also received a free turkey donated by various individuals and organizations, including St. Francis Food Pantries (NYC); UPS (Wayne); St. Elizabeth’s Church (Wyckoff); First Presbyterian Church (Caldwell); Saddle River Valley Junior Woman’s Club (Saddle River); Fairway Market (Woodland Park); and Wyckoff-Midland Park Rotary (Wyckoff), and BAE Systems (Wayne).
Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter was among the local and state representatives who came out to volunteer and help. This is her third year attending this event and when asked what it meant to her to volunteer at Oasis her response was “It is important during this holiday season to serve others. It is important to me to make sure that I am giving more than I am receiving.”
Senator Cory Booker was also in attendance, serving up turkey to all the guests he greeted. "I love the community, the people here are phenomenal," Booker said. "Ever since I was the mayor of Newark, I always had folks from here reaching out to me to show support. I think this is a community that understands you have to be there for one another, times can get tough, but if we stand together, its a place of strength, and that's the best of Paterson."
The mission of Oasis is to change the lives of women and children by breaking the cycle of poverty through programs designed to feed, clothe, educate and empower women and children in need.
The soup kitchen at Oasis serves more than 600 women and children meals including breakfast and lunch each weekday of the year. They also have a new community garden providing fresh produce and environmental programming for students.