For seven years, Rabbi Shalom Lubin and Madison's have been bringing hot Thanksgiving meals with all the fixings to homebound members of the extended community. For Lubin, it's been inspiring to see the effort grow.
"It started with one housing complex calling me up which had a handful of people they asked if we could provide dinners for," Lubin said. "It grew early on from five or six dinners to 10 to 20."
This year, Lubin said the organization will reach more than 200 Morris County residents. What he believes makes the organization's efforts different is that a group of people who normally may not have been able to help themselves are receiving attention.
"There are plenty of food pantries that give and provide dinners to people who come in," Lubin said. "There is a whole segment of homebound residents who just don't get out and if we don't bring them dinners will be eating tuna."
The organization gets the names of many who need help from social workers with the Morris County Housing Authority who put up signs in different buildings to let residents know that if they are alone, Chabad of SE Morris County is happy to help.
Food is professionally made by catering companies each year for distribution to those on the list. This year, Lubin said Noah's Ark in Teaneck has helped out with the dinners.
Dinners will be picked up from Noah's Ark on Wednesday, and on Thursday morning volunteers will arrive at Lubin's office to obtain the food and a route before heading out to the homebound in need.
Lubin said it's not just the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, string beans, dinner rolls and pie that those in need receive, but also the conversation.
"I brought dinner a couple of years ago to an elderly woman who was the youngest of 12 siblings," Lubin said. "The other 11 passed away and she was the only one left and was all alone. She would tell us stories about growing up during the Depression. She just needed someone to talk to. She was just grateful to have a visit."
Anyone interested in donating to the cause or who wants to obtain more information is encouraged by Lubin to send an e-mail to email@example.com. Lubin has found that Thanksgiving has helped bring a new crop of volunteers.
"It can be hard to get volunteers," Lubin said. "On Thanksgiving morning, nobody is working. To go out for an hour or two on Thursday morning, everybody has time. So there is an influx of those who don't usually have time."