The Mercy House, a resource and referral center operated by the Archdiocese of Newark’s Respect Life Office, will distribute approximately 200 free turkeys to families in need during its Fifth Annual Thanksgiving Giveaway on Tuesday, November 22, at 11 a.m.
All who visit The Mercy House’s Newark location (620 Clinton Avenue) will receive one turkey as well as one bag of side dishes like stuffing and cranberry sauce — everything required to prepare a Thanksgiving meal for their loved ones. Additionally, families with young children will get a gift bag filled with crayons and other fun treats. The giveaway will operate on a first come, first served basis while supplies last.
“A lot of our families cannot afford a full Thanksgiving dinner,” said Cheryl A. Riley, director of the Respect Life Office and The Mercy House. “But the kids want to celebrate Thanksgiving because they hear about their friends doing it. And people here from other countries want to feel part of American culture. That’s why The Mercy House does this giveaway every year — we provide what people need.”
This year’s Thanksgiving Giveaway is made possible entirely through The Mercy House’s donors, who contributed 100 percent of the items being distributed. These benefactors include archdiocesan employees, who held a food drive at their Pastoral Center in Newark. Leah and Bobby Antonicello of Grid Real Estate also supplied 100 turkeys, while the Cheer Me Up Foundation provided 20 large baskets of poultry and sides.
“All the donated food is appreciated by the people we serve through the giveaway,” said Mercy House Coordinator Annette Miller. “You can see the gratitude and emotion on their faces when you give them the turkeys. There’s a sense of relief that washes over them because they know they’ll be able to provide for their families on Thanksgiving.”
The Thanksgiving Giveaway is one of The Mercy House’s biggest initiatives, but it is not the only major event on the horizon. The Mercy House will host the grand opening of a second location in Jersey City (20 Greenville Avenue) on Monday, December 5, at 11 a.m. After that, the Newark location will hold its traditional Christmas Toy Giveaway on Friday, December 16, at 11 a.m.
Opened in 2018 as a center for pregnant and parenting women, The Mercy House has since expanded its mission to support anyone in need. Today it provides nonperishable food, clothing, baby supplies, furniture, and help finding work and housing to all who visit its Newark location every Tuesday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit www.rcan.org/respect-life/mercy-house.