Multiple Bordentown community groups stepped up this holiday season to prepare and deliver meals to people less fortunate just in time for Thanksgiving.
With buckets full of chopped carrots, mashed potatoes, turkey and plenty more holiday dinner fixings, the Kiwanis Club of Bordentown and Christ Church Parish of Bordentown prepared and packed 450 meals as they gathered at the Bordentown Elks Lodge on the morning of Nov. 27 aimed to assist residents in need.
Several community leaders and groups involved Father Matthew Tucker and Doan Tucker of of the Christ Church parish who, along with the help of local volunteers, also prepared and distributed more than 400 meals to people in need.
Other community groups involved with the local efforts included Trinity Church; the Bordentown Elks; the Knights of Columbus Council 570; and the Consolidated Fire Department, as well as other local businesses.
Local food donations this year came from the Muslim Center of Greater Princeton and West Windsor; Whole Hog BBQ; The Heart of Bordentown Tavern; and Olde Town Bakery.
“The project between Kiwanis, Christ Church and the Elks helped send out another 490 meals today,” said George Veitengruber of Bordentown Kiwanis, who helps coordinate the annual community food drive. “It’s these support projects that make Bordentown pretty special.”
Veitengruber said that local initiative began 10 years ago as a way to prepare meals for homebound senior citizens in the Monmouth County area.
He explained that the program helped prepare 100-150 meals for the senior citizens, but it wasn’t until three years ago when Kiwanis Club of Bordentown members used Christ Church’s kitchen to prepare meals for the annual outreach effort, Father Matthew Tucker asked him why they weren’t doing it for Bordentown as well.
“The answer was that we had no idea why nobody was doing it for Bordentown,” Veitengruber said. “That year, we put out an additional 80 meals for people in town.”
He explained that two years ago, once local schools were able to get involved with the effort, the food drive “exploded.” Veitengruber said that school officials were able to provide information on local families in need for the food drive, and it has since grown the outreach program to prepare more than 300 meals.
Along with an aimed effort to help Bordentown residents, Veitengruber noted that the food drive has also expanded to the McGuire Air Force Base, where multiple officials stationed at the base on Thanksgiving Day receive a meal, too.
Another local volunteer, James Maloney, said that a partnership between Trinity Church and the Muslim Center of Greater Princeton has helped prepare meals for Bordentown’s homeless population and people in need at local hotels/motels, especially this time of year.
Since April 2017, the Trinity Church of Bordentown has served as a satellite campus for the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK) and serves free home-cooked meals for the homeless each week prepared by the Muslim Center of Greater Princeton as part of its “Trinity’s Table” program.
The two groups were introduced by TASK after church members reached out to the organization to learn how they could convert their fellowship hall into a place to feed the hungry. As of May, the program has served more than 20,000 meals and continues to be a staple effort to help the needy outside of the Thanksgiving holiday.
“We deliver about 170 to 190 meals every week to feed these families and individuals who live in the hotels,” Maloney said.
With an intent to help hundreds of people this year, especially during the holiday season, Veitengruber said he felt the collaborated efforts between various local groups can have an impact on Bordentown people.
“Now more than ever, it’s a difficulty to go day-in and day-out, and we never want the concept of ‘hunger’ to take someone under in this community,” he said. “Bordentown caring about these people that would otherwise not have an opportunity – it’s awesome that we can all reach out and do this.”