EDITORIAL: Now is a great time to be ‘Women & Men for Others’

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just a week away. Wasn’t it just 90 degrees and humid outside?

Of course, with the holiday always comes the reminder of how much we often take for granted. What might seem so simple — a dinner with family, with all the usual fare, from turkey to potatoes to string-bean casserole to stuffing etc. — isn’t so easy for countless families right in our own backyard.

For many, the thought of being able to purchase a turkey and the fixings is an ill-affordable luxury.

Just think about that for a moment.

For many families, it’s not possible to put something as simple as a turkey on the dinner table. Could you even begin to imagine what it must be like to wake up on Thanksgiving morning, knowing that a family meal isn’t possible?

There could be any number of reasons why or how this is possible — from unemployment, to having to decide whether to pay rent or buy food, having to decide whether medication is more important than celebrating the holiday. We could go on ad infinitim here.

It could even be someone you know going through such a scenario. Perhaps it is you.

Yet we live in a community where people take care of each other.

In Kearny, on Thanksgiving Day, under the guidance of Pastor the Rev. Joseph Mancini, St. Stephen’s Church will offer a full Thanksgiving meal, at noon, to anyone who needs one — no questions asked, no jacket required. Scores of parishioners at the parish will spend parts of Nov. 21 and Nov. 22 preparing the meals. Call 201-998-3314 by Nov. 19 to RSVP if you’d like to attend.

In Harrison, the Knights of Columbus Council No. 402 and the Harrison-East Newark Elks, under the guidance of Larry Bennett, a member of both organizations, will bring turkeys and and all that comes with it to the elderly and shut-ins of Harrison and East Newark.

In both cases, the volunteers do so not because they must, but because it’s the right thing to do. They do so on their own time, using their own talents and treasure, so that those who are less fortunate can experience the happiness that should come at Thanksgiving.

And these are only two of the more noted Thanksgiving programs. There are countless others.

So with a just over a week to go before we pause to give thanks for all that we’ve got, maybe this could be a time to pitch in. This would be the best time to donate to a local food pantry since once Thanksgiving is over, those shelves are often way too empty.

In fact, St. Stephen’s could still use donations of 16- to 20-pound turkeys, pumpkin or apple pies, whole potatoes for mashing, turkey roasting pans (disposable aluminum) and roasting bags, whipped cream, take-home containers and ShopRite or BJ’s gift cards. Donations may be brought to the rectory, on Washington Avenue off Kearny Avenue, by Nov. 19.

This would be an incredibly good chance to be “Women and Men for Others,” as the Rev. Pedro Arrupe, S.J., the great Jesuit, called all of us to be.

And the joy that come with being of service to others — especially this time of year?


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