Monday, July 15, 2024

Record Number of Families Enjoy Thanksgiving Feast Courtesy of Generous Community

PRESS RELEASE: NEWTON, N.J. – More than 500 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.  

“Many of our participants have been plunged into a situation where food insecurity has become a deeply troubling issue. The overwhelming generosity of our friends and neighbors is appreciated now more than ever,” commented Deborah Berry-Toon, executive director of Project Self-Sufficiency. “We have a lot to be thankful for this year.”

Thousands of 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 in supporting Project Self-Sufficiency all year long,” noted McNamara. “I have been fortunate in my life, and I am honored to be able to use this opportunity to help those in need.”

The First Presbyterian Church of Newton Youth Group, along with help from the congregation, donated 200 freshly baked pies. 

“The Youth Group and the congregation of the First Presbyterian Church of Newton look forward to baking pies for Project Self-Sufficiency’s Thanksgiving baskets each year. The mission of our church is to be a beacon of light and hope to our community, and pie-baking is just one of the ways that we let our light shine,” said Colleen Duffy, associate for family nurture at the First Presbyterian Church. “This year, we were joined by students from Hamburg School, who commented that they had never done anything like this before, and they felt really good to be able to help families who needed assistance.”

Funds for the purchase of 300 frozen turkeys were donated by the ad hoc group of approximately 12 men and women known loosely as the College of Knowledge, along with a contingent from the Lake Mohawk Golf Club; the donation was spearheaded by Project Self-Sufficiency leadership council member Roy Knutsen with the help of Lake Mohawk Golf Club President Chuck Roberts. 

“It’s a real pleasure to be able to help needy families with a Thanksgiving meal who might not have had one without Project Self-Sufficiency,” noted Knutsen.

Deliveries to homebound families were provided by parishioners of the Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, a tradition which has been in place for nearly 40 years.  

A joint Thanksgiving food drive was also conducted by board member Dee Fernandez and leadership council member Kathy Nauta, with the help of their friends, families and neighbors, culminating in donations of gift cards and funds to purchase bushels of canned goods and fresh produce.  Hundreds of pounds of fresh apples were supplied by longtime Project Self-Sufficiency supporter John Mathews with the help of Gulick’s Fruit Farm. Generous donations of turkeys, food, baked goods, gift cards and funds were also received from numerous other individuals and families.