Table Being Set To Serve Free Feast For Those In Need Or Alone

By Cheryl Conway

Thanksgiving is for many a happy occasion shared with family and friends with a nice home cooked meal and all the trimmings. But for some, it can be a lonely time without anyone to share a drum leg or some apple pie.

Married couple Mary Lalama and Joe Nicastro of Flanders, co-publishers of New View Media Group Newspapers, plan to host a Thanksgiving Family Dinner for struggling families or individuals, as well as the elderly who would otherwise be alone on the holiday. The festive meal is set for Thanksgiving Day, Thur., Nov. 24, at 1:30 p.m., at the Mt. Olive Senior Center in Flanders.

This first annual dinner is free to any resident of Mt. Olive who is in need of assistance or would otherwise be spending Thanksgiving by themselves.

“A traditional Thanksgiving dinner from turkey to pumpkin pie,” will be served that day, describes Lalama, who is currently in the process of seeking sponsoring restaurants, as well as donors and volunteers.

“We are asking area restaurants to help us cook the food,” she says. They are also asking anyone who wants to donate food or money to buy food, as well as soliciting businesses.

“I have a list already of some volunteers but we won’t know how many people we actually need until we have a count of how many people will attend,” adds Lalama. “So when people call I take their name and number and have a list.”

Other festivities beside the dinner will include some games for the children. 

Lalama says they chose to host this dinner on Thanksgiving rather on another holiday for two reasons.

“It’s a national holiday so everyone celebrates it and it’s a time for us to give back to help those who need help and for us to be thankful for all we have been blessed with,” she explains. “We are trying to serve as many needy families as possible. If we get a lot of people we will have two seatings.”

Lalama says, “We came up with the idea last Thanksgiving with all our kids. We were saying that we had so much food and that it would be nice to host a Thanksgiving dinner where less fortunate families can come and eat and feel like they are part of a bigger family and have an experience of dining out for the holiday.”

To help get the word out about the dinner, Lalama has been contacting different groups in town.

“I did reach out to the food pantry in town and am bringing fliers there,” she says. “I am also going to call some area churches, schools and daycare centers to let them know as well.”
For more information, donate, sponsor, volunteer or attend, call Lalama at 973-768-1815.

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