Thanksgiving dinners offered in Lakewood

Staff Writer

Thanksgiving dinners
offered in Lakewood
Staff Writer

LAKEWOOD — Thanksgiving isn’t just for Americans.

That message will be heard loud and clear on Saturday afternoon. At 1:30 p.m., volunteers at the Parent Resource Center, 655 Princeton Ave., will hand out uncooked Thanksgiving dinners in the building’s 7th Avenue foyer to the first 300 people there.

"We do this every year in order to help those people [who are] less fortunate be happy and experience what it feels like to experience a traditional American Thanksgiving," said Miriam Medina, parent coordinator/liaison for the center. "It makes them feel welcome and a part of the American mainstream."

The dinners, which are provided by the Shore Christian Center, Wall Township, will include an entire frozen turkey and fixings. The boxes containing the dinners will have handles for easy transport of the donated food.

Medina encouraged residents to register in Room 20 of the center for the free dinners before the distribution.

"Come and sign up," she said. "Parents who register the names of their children at the Thanksgiving dinner giveaway will also be registering them for Christmas gifts next month."

Registration is to be used solely for the programs’ information and will not be used for any other purpose, she said.

"We want to help anyone no matter what their status is in the United States," Medina said.

Medina is relying on a preliminary list compiled by Ada Gonzalez at the first STEPS en Espanol meeting held in October. The organization is an offshoot of the English-speaking meetings run by STEPS (Solutions To End Poverty Soon) President Michael McNeil. However, Medina invited anyone who is interested in qualifying for the dinners to register as well.

"It is for everyone in the community," said Medina. "You don’t have to speak Spanish to be made to feel a part of the community this holiday season. We want to make everyone feel welcome — which they are."

No one will be turned away whether they are registered or not, said Medina. When guests arrive they will be given a number up to 300, the number of dinners available for distribution.

"We have translators [who speak] Spanish, but no matter what language they speak, we’ll still have a turkey for them," said Medina.

For further information, call Medina at (732) 905-3593 or visit the Parent Resource Center, 655 Princeton Ave., to register. Parking is available on the Sixth Street side of the building.

Anyone wishing to make a donation of food, gifts or new toys for children can also contact Medina at the same number.

"We are always grateful for whatever donations we can get," she said.