In what has become a Thanksgiving tradition in Brick, volunteers at Epiphany Roman Catholic Church on Thiele Road woke up early and began preparing nearly 200 turkeys to feed approximately 1,000 people today.
This is the church's 19th year hosting the annual event, which includes meal deliveries to more than 750 people, then a Thanksgiving feast at the church for anyone who comes.
For the past eight years, the church has partnered with Ocean County Meals on Wheels to deliver Thanksgiving dinners to homebound senior citizens throughout much of Ocean County.
Most years, the delivery list included seniors in Seaside Heights, but since Hurricane Sandy, those towns have been off-limits.
Bob Hermida – who, along with his wife Sue started the volunteer effort all those years ago – said he personally tracked down the names of those on the barrier island who might be displaced this year and arranged for them to receive a dinner.
"One lady, unfortunately, we couldn't find, but a few more we did, and we're delivering meals to them where they are now" Hermida said.
A silver lining in the post-Sandy era came in the form of more volunteers than ever this year, Hermida said.
Usually, volunteers have to deliver meals to three or four locations in one trip, but this year those delivering will only have to stop at two houses per route. Often, those volunteering take a few moments to talk with the seniors on their route and wish them a happy Thanksgiving, and this year they may have more time to do so.
More than 200 volunteers participate every year, with most of the meals on their way to the county's hungry seniors by noon.