By MADDY VITALE
More than 175 free Easter ham dinners, with all the sides, were delivered by volunteers from OCNJ CARE on Saturday afternoon to show those in need that the community is there for them.
From seniors at Bayview Manor, Pecks Beach Village and Wesley by the Bay low-income housing complexes, to stops for veterans and others in the community who requested a meal, there was more than just food delivered.
“The meal is one thing, but you’re going out and delivering with a smile and the goodness of your heart and soul,” OCNJ CARE Chairman Drew Fasy said moments after deliveries were completed at Pecks Beach Village. “That is something that people really need more of these days.”
Volunteers from OCNJ CARE, a charitable organization headed Fasy, Kathy Sykes, also of OCNJ CARE, Bill McGinnity, of Nobil Catering, and the food ministry at St. Peter’s United Methodist Church with Jen Bowman at the helm, work together with local families and businesses to provide the meals, the delivery and some surprises. They also teamed up over Thanksgiving and Christmas to provide meals.
In addition to honey baked ham, green beans, mashed potatoes and desserts, there were also cards made by members of the community and candy-filled eggs, as well as donations from local businesses of donuts and an Easter ornament for each dinner bag.
“The seniors are so appreciative of the dinners and are happy,” Sykes said as she was delivering to some of the residents at Pecks Beach Village. “It doesn’t take a lot of effort and it brings a lot of joy.”
The team of families, including the Sykes, Fasy and Young families, among other volunteers, started off at noon at McGinnity’s restaurant, Cousin’s, located at 104 Asbury Ave., to pick up the dinners.
“The dinners Bill made were just beautiful. He had them ready to go and lent us his catering truck,” Fasy noted.
The team then went to St. Peter’s to pick up desserts of chocolate cake made by Bowman.
This was the second year that Easter dinners were provided at Wesley by the Bay.
Colleen McCann and Kathy Speer, administrators at Wesley by the Bay, said that the residents enjoyed the dinners very much last year.
“The residents just loved the dinners and looked forward to them this year,” McCann said. “They loved the candies and the cards, too. We really appreciate what OCNJ CARE does for our seniors.”
Speer added, “It is wonderful. And it is really great how the young kids are involved. They help to look out for the seniors.”