Archdiocese of Newark’s Mercy House Director Cheryl A. Riley oversees the annual Thanksgiving Giveaway at Mercy House locations in Elizabeth, Jersey City, and Newark. Credit: (Photo by Archdiocese of Newark/Sean Quinn)

300+ Turkeys and Side Dishes to be Given to Families in Need at Three Mercy House Locations.

The Mercy House, a resource and referral center of the Archdiocese of Newark, will distribute a record 300-400 free turkeys to families in need during its largest-ever Thanksgiving Giveaway — the first to take place at its new locations in Elizabeth and Jersey City in addition to its original Newark base.

The turkeys will be distributed by The Mercy House in Jersey City on November 20 and in Newark on November 21 while supplies last (The Mercy House’s Elizabeth location already held its giveaway this month). Additionally, it will provide side dishes like stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce — everything required to prepare a Thanksgiving meal for their loved ones. The giveaway will begin at 11 a.m. at each site and operate on a first-come, first-served basis.

“Thanksgiving is a special time of year, but unfortunately, not all families can afford to celebrate it,” Mercy House Director Cheryl A. Riley said. “We coordinate this giveaway every year because we want to help our community members who are struggling to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal and possibly create good memories with their loved ones.”

Because The Mercy House opened new locations in Elizabeth and Jersey City this past year, donations were especially needed to meet the increased number of people seeking assistance with food and essentials. Fortunately, many archdiocesan parishes, schools, and parishioners generously contributed more this year to meet the growing demand.

Organizations and individuals beyond the Archdiocese provided substantial assistance, as well. One private donor contributed $3,500 worth of turkeys, while Belleville wedding venue Nanina’s in the Park donated 20 large baskets of food.

“It’s heartwarming and encouraging to see so many people come together to provide for those in need, especially at the holidays,” said Annette Miller, associate director of The Mercy House, who coordinated donation efforts for the Thanksgiving Giveaway. “Now that we have three Mercy House locations, we are able to assist more people in our communities.”

The Thanksgiving Giveaway is one of The Mercy House’s biggest initiatives, along with its annual Christmas Giveaway, which is scheduled for December 18 in Jersey City, December 19 in Newark, and December 20 in Elizabeth this year.

The Archdiocese of Newark also plans to open a fourth Mercy House location in Bogota (within Bergen County) next spring. That expansion will ensure The Mercy House serves all four counties overseen by the Archdiocese: Bergen, Essex, Hudson, and Union.

For more information on The Mercy House, visit If you would like to volunteer or make a donation — financial contributions are especially appreciated — contact Cheryl Riley at

About the Archdiocese of Newark  

The Archdiocese of Newark serves 1.3 million Catholics throughout Bergen, Essex, Hudson, and Union counties. The Archdiocese has 212 parishes, 73 Catholic schools, and many missions and ministries. Hundreds of Masses are celebrated in more than a dozen languages each week. Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., the sixth archbishop of Newark, leads the Archdiocese with four auxiliary bishops. Together, they serve the northern New Jersey community through faith, education, and social services. For more information, visit 

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