The Trenton Area Soup Kitchen Helps Families Get Ready for the Holidays

It’s said that food brings people together. As the end of year holidays approach, it’s natural to think about gathering with family and friends – especially in an environment that has forced so many to stay apart. Fortunately, today TASK was able to provide food to its family of patrons to share with their loved ones on Thanksgiving Day.

Thanks to your generosity we’ve been able to keep our doors open during COVID-19 and continue to provide meals to thousands of people experiencing hunger and food insecurity, including those visiting us for the first time because of economic hardships brought on by the pandemic.

While TASK won’t have its customary sit-down turkey dinner this year, the soup kitchen will hand out two special meals – wrapped and served to-go-style for folks who come by on Thanksgiving Day. Also, as in years past, The Geltzer Family Foundation will fund our Thanksgiving at Home program which will feed at least 250 families this year. The meal includes a turkey and all the fixings that a family can enjoy preparing together at home.

“We are really trying to make this holiday season as cheery as possible – especially in this COVID-19 environment,” said Jaime Parker, TASK’s programs manager who oversees the annual project. “The year is hard enough on our patrons as is, so hopefully a nice hot meal will help make things litter brighter for a bit.”

Volunteers and staff pack 250 Thanksgiving Dinner Bags to help TASK patrons celebrate the holiday at home with loved ones.

In addition to giving out meals on site, TASK will deliver about 65 Thanksgiving baskets to patrons’ homes for the first time.

“These patrons are in our adult education, work training and arts programs or we know them through our case management, so we know their situations,” Parker explained. “This will also help reduce traffic on the day of distribution and help things hopefully go more smoothly.”

In December TASK will celebrate the season with another special holiday and donated gifts for patrons. The meal will be wrapped and served from TASK’s front doors on Christmas Day and gifts will be distributed at a date to be announced later, said Parker. As the number of COVID-19 cases increase and the state prepares to re-activate shelter-at-home measures, TASK managers are working out how the soup kitchen will distribute the items to patrons, Parker said. In the meantime, donations of new winter items for adults are needed most.

“Unfortunately, this year we are not doing toys,” Parker said. “We just don’t have the space to store those items. We really need heavy sweatshirts and socks for adults. We also need blankets and full-size items for our hygiene bags.”

New hats and gloves as well as new and gently used coats will also be accepted for the winter gift drive. New outerwear will go to the gift drive and the previously owned items will be hung up on Sandro’s Coat Rack. A staple located outside the soup kitchen’s Escher Street facility; the coat rack was donated four years ago by Sandro Cunningham, an elementary school student who started collecting coats for TASK when he was a 6-year-old.

The racked coats are free for anyone to take.

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