By Patty Booth O’Neill
Thirty five turkeys, eight turkey breasts, four hams and a ton of help from the community. “It really was a blessing,” said Marcus Phillips.
This is the first time St. Luke’s has not had chef Jerome overseeing the kitchen for their annual Thanksgiving dinner.
“He’s very ill and the doctor said he shouldn’t even come to the dinner,” Avery Grant said. Over the years Chef Jerome had cooked all the turkeys at Fort Monmouth. “We didn’t think we would have Thanksgiving this year.”
But parishioners and volunteers stepped up and said, “we can do it,” and so they did.
Starting days before Thanksgiving food preparation began in St. Luke’s kitchen. The dining area was decorated, tables set up and on Thanksgiving day volunteers made sure everything was ready.
The kitchen was crowded with cooks,
and volunteers. Buffet-style tables were filled with turkey, ham and all the side dishes with eager volunteers ready to serve the line of people happy for the blessing. There was also plenty of beverages and dessert.
For the people who have come to depend on the annual free dinner, some for the camaraderie, others to spend time with family and friends and some who have no other place to go, had no idea it was almost not to be.