LONG BRANCH: For the 24th year the Lutheran Church of St. Luke's has served Thanksgiving Dinner at midday on Thanksgiving to all who come, no charge, to enjoy the meal and fringes - homemade desserts and more. The more includes the friendships revitalized each year.
Pastor Richard Romero welcomed the Thursday gathering who came, and led a prayer of thanks. The tradition at St/ Luke's has been there since the 1990s when the meals program was begun.
Meals are also sent to homes and families in the area, the city of Long Branch and towns around. St. Luke's gets needed aid from Second Baptist in the city.
Some families to whom meals were carried included towns like Oceanport, Eatontown, West Long Branch and other towns. In Long Branch meals went to apartments in Kennedy Towers, Ocean Point, Washington Manor, Meadowbrook and other sites.
Some volunteers who cook and serve the meals are from these locations as well, youngsters among them, such as 8-year old Xavier from Eatontown, who gets most excited as part of the giving to others. His birthday is July 4th his Mom told us.
Volunteers came from as far as Old Bridge and Sea Girt.
Congressman Frank Pallone was there sharing his day. The local Long Brancher was right at home and thanked the volunteers for their commitment and work. Noting the young people in the gathering, Pallone thanked former Superintendent of Schools in the city, Joe Ferraina for the contribution he made in upgrading and improving the school system for the next generations.
Ferraina, reflecting on the day, said' How important this day is. There are a lot of good people here helping. There I always an angel somewhere.", he said, smiling
Local businesses made generous contribution, said Avery Grant, a program organizer He thanked New Jersey Power and Light for their financial aid.
About 135 meals were delivered to families and senior residences. Some e 200 meals were served at the church. The photos show a few of the activities, and smiles on the faces show the joy the giving brought to all.
The Charlie Band was playing tunes and as the food began to be served, Charlie sang. "All You Need is Love." A perfect song to the occasion.