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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Thankful, even after Sandy
Local groups serving Thanksgiving in Oceanside and Island Park

It seems like Hurricane Sandy hit just yesterday, leaving devastation in its wake that no one was prepared for.

In the aftermath of the storm, many people have been so caught up in trying to get their homes and lives back in order that it seems amazing that Thanksgiving is only a week away. And with so many residents still without power and heat, it seems hard to imagine hosting a large family dinner.

But groups are coming to both Oceanside and Island Park to help those who won’t be able to cook meals on Thanksgiving.

In Island Park, United Water — the company that was chosen to run the county’s three sewage treatment plants — will be catering Thanksgiving dinner for residents at the Sacred Heart Parish Center.

“We’ve forged a pretty close relationship in regards to the folks that live in the area. Certainly some of the environmental groups and some of the families that were hardest-hit by this tragedy,” said Rich Henning, a senior vice president of United Water. “Some of these folks in the area have become more than people that we meet at a few meetings here and there, they’ve become friends. And we wanted to be able to do whatever we could to help them out.”

United Water is reaching out to caterers to supply food on Thanksgiving to residents and anyone else who comes down for a meal.

In Oceanside, the community is working to support its own. Oceanside Community Service is working with the Oceanside Interfaith Council to host Thanksgiving dinner for residents who can’t afford or make their own. The dinner will be held at the high school on Thanksgiving day from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the school’s cafeteria.

“It will be a full Thanksgiving meal,” said Bob Transom, president of OCS, “and hopefully a traveler to go with them.”

Transom said that OCS is planning on feeding around 650 to 700 people — about double the number that the Interfaith Council usually feeds at its annual Thanksgiving meal.

OCS will also still be holding its annual Turkey Shoot, this year on Nov. 20 at the high school. But instead of collecting turkeys, this year the organization will be collecting certificates for turkeys.

“We’re giving non-perishables and it may be that the people we’re giving to won’t be able to cook a turkey,” said Transom. “So we’re giving them an envelope with a certificate for a turkey at a later time.”

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