For more than 40 years, Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK) has worked hard to ensure that people throughout the community have a Thanksgiving to be thankful for.
Months before the big day, and long before the leaves turn, TASK sets out along with countless people across the community to start coordinating Thanksgiving projects. From pie donations to fundraising events, the people of greater Mercer County area have been planning, shopping and donating in order to help those in need.
Some, like families from Pennington’s Toll Gate Grammar School, have made TASK a party of their annual Thanksgiving plans for decades. Each year, Toll Gate students and their families bake pies and orchestrate a food drive for TASK. It’s an annual school tradition that dates back to 1986! These young students also craft festive centerpieces for tables, as well as homemade cards for diners, all of which add a special touch to the Thanksgiving Day meal service at TASK.
TASK Chef Adam Livow and his “dream team” kitchen staff are already busy prepping TASK’s traditional Thanksgiving meal of freshly-roasted turkey with stuffing and gravy. The hearty and nourishing meal will be rounded out with delicious sides and treats, including tomato bisque soup, TASK’s signature salad bar, coffee and tea service and an assortment of pies. TASK expects to serve more than 500 people on Thanksgiving Day.
In addition, some 400 families across Trenton will receive “Thanksgiving at Home” baskets starting this week as part of TASK’s annual holiday program, which is funded by a generous donation from the Geltzer Family Foundation.
David and Leslee Geltzer, who have provided funding to the program since its inception in 2006, have helped serve Thanksgiving meals to more than 14,000 people through their support. “We are so pleased to help families in need enjoy a turkey dinner with all the trimmings to celebrate at home,” the Geltzers say.
TASK staff and volunteers will once again partner with local Amazon EWR4 employees to hand-deliver packages containing the turkey and all the trimmings necessary to create a bountiful Thanksgiving meal.
Each “basket” includes a frozen turkey, gravy mix, stuffing, cornbread, veggies, macaroni and cheese, apple juice, pie and even a roasting pan — everything recipients need to enjoy a holiday meal in the comfort of their own home!
“At Amazon, we are committed to support the communities where our employees live and work,” says Brian Perez, Director of Operations at Amazon’s Robbinsville Fulfillment Center. “We’re thrilled to be able to support TASK and the great work they do for the Trenton community.”
TASK’s Thanksgiving meals are even more important today than ever before, as hunger surges to unprecedented levels nationwide. The U.S. Agriculture Department’s most recent report indicates that nearly 17 million households across the country are experiencing food insecurity, an increase of nearly 3.5 million households in just one year. The problem is even more acute in places like Trenton, where 27% of the population (and 37% of resident children) are living below the poverty line.
“Thanksgiving is an opportunity for people to connect with one another over a meal, something that TASK achieves every day in our dining room,” says TASK CEO Joyce Campbell. “It brings us so much joy to know that this Thanksgiving, with the support of our generous community, TASK can once again provide everyone we serve with the opportunity to enjoy the true spirit of the holiday.”
TASK, which has been serving the Mercer County region since 1982, serves nearly 10,000 meals, six days per week, in Trenton and 35 community meal sites throughout Greater Mercer County. In addition, TASK offers a multitude of resources to encourage self-sufficiency and improve quality of life including case management, education, workforce development, creative arts and the provision of basic necessities.