Flip through images of the Nov. 25, 2019 Thanksgiving event sponsored by the RAINE Foundation at Saint Benedict School in Holmdel. All photos by Patrick Olivero
HOLMDEL – Hundreds poured into Saint Benedict’s gym on Monday, Nov. 25 for the annual community Thanksgiving dinner. Some performed for the crowd, some served the guests, and some simply ate a delicious, hot meal with friends.
There were 40 turkeys delivered by home cooks, and trays of lasagne, mashed potatoes, pasta, stuffing and vegetables and pies generously donated by local restaurants like Giuseppe’s of Hazlet, IHOP of Keyport and Wall and Trump National Golf Club of Colts Neck. Loori Bus Company brought residents from Bethany Manor in Keyport, Bethany Towers of Hazlet and Saint Mark’s Center for Community Renewal in Keansburg. As always, it was a loud, busy scene, but after so many years, the RAINE Foundation Thanksgiving dinner is a well-oiled machine.
Anticipation for the big day was running high, said RAINE Foundation co-founder Patti Dickens, with some guests arriving 45 minutes early. “For a lot of people, this is their Thanksgiving, this is their event,” said Dickens. “A lot of seniors don’t have anyone to share it with.”
She said the RAINE voicemail box has lately filled up twice a day, every day. That translates to 80 messages. Some of those calling were making reservations, and some were calls from community members who wanted to volunteer for this and the RAINE holiday gift drive.
RAINE Foundation President Anthony Petruzzi looked around the gym as the tables were being cleaned up and said next year they will seek to invite even more guests. “I think we have the room,” he said. “Next year we want to get more people involved. Maybe one more busload of people. We have a lot of food.”
Whatever was not served to guests or taken home to family by volunteers was donated to 180 Turning Lives Around domestic violence shelter, local police departments, Ronald McDonald House of Long Branch and Saint Mark’s Soup Kitchen in Keansburg.
“I just always feel this is one of the premier community events we run,” said RAINE co-founder Matt Dickens.