Mercy Center Distributes Turkeys For Thanksgiving Holiday

Yollande Gontrant, Asbury Park, with Kim Gaudagno, Executive Director, Mercy Center. (Photo courtesy Think Media Communications)

MONMOUTH COUNTY – A neighboring property owner, a local Boy Scout Troop, students at Sisters Academy of New Jersey, and volunteers help Mercy Center in Asbury Park make Thanksgiving brighter for hundreds of families in Monmouth County, distributing 26,000 pounds of food for the holiday, including more than 850 turkeys.

First, Property Owner Jeffery Demontmorency offered his spacious, vacant rental at 1111 Main Street in Asbury Park to Mercy Center to house its holiday meal distributions indoors. This kind gesture allowed Mercy Center’s Pantry across the street to stay open for regular food distributions and let families pick up their holiday meals inside the building and out of the cold. This space will also be used for Mercy Center’s upcoming Christmas food distributions.

Then, students at Mercy Center’s Sisters Academy of New Jersey decorated 1111 Main Street to make the space more festive for families in need. They cut out snowflakes and winter scenes of construction paper to adorn the windows, put up a Christmas tree, and hung-up garland along archways and columns.

Boy Scouts Troop 31 in Spring Lake dropped off 50 bags of food to help, too! They were stuffed with mashed potato boxes, canned green beans and corn, gravy, stuffing, tea, coffee, jello, cookies, coffee, and more. These bags went to parishioners in need at New Bethel Church in Neptune City, along with turkeys from Mercy Center.

Doc Edwards, Asbury Park, and his one-yea-old son, Dontrell. (Photo courtesy Think Media Communications)

Inside the space at 1111 Main Street, tables were set up with fresh produce… apples, mandarin oranges, potatoes, carrots, Brussel sprouts, celery, squash, blueberries, onions, broccoli, and more for people to select what they would like before receiving bags with yams, cranberry sauce, cookies, and gravy. Finally, volunteers and staff handed them turkeys to make their Thanksgiving meal special.

“It helps a whole lot. It’s a beautiful thing. That’s what Thanksgiving is all about, being grateful for people for what they do for you and what you do for others. It’s a blessing this here today,” said Doc Edwards, a father of three from Asbury Park, as he picked up his holiday meal from Mercy Center while pushing his one-year-old son, Dontrell, in his stroller.

Mercy Center purchased the produce through Seashore Produce, a state program. Special thanks also to Mercy Center’s generous retail store that donated some of the food to us… ACME in Wall, Target in Wall and Ocean, Costco and Wegmans in Ocean, and Aldi in Wall.

“This is what Thanksgiving is all about! Giving food to people who need it and making sure everyone in our community has what they need. It just feels good,” said Larry Downes, Mercy Center Board Member and Retired CEO and Chairman of New Jersey Resources and New Jersey Natural Gas, after he helped distribute food.