By Jennifer L. Warren
NEWBURGH – Timothy Gadbois sums it up in one word: Fellowship.
The long-time City of Newburgh resident keenly understands the dire need-craving so many have for companionship-simply someone to sit and share a meal with as well as exchange thoughts and ideas. They are the very reasons he returned for Thursday’s Fifth Annual Newburgh Community Thanksgiving Dinner, inside of The Sacred Heart Parish Center in the City of Newburgh for the fourth year. The altruistic-minded Gadbois also spread the word about the dinner to many he comes in contact with and assists throughout the year; many of those people could be spotted partaking in the Feast.
“I know one of the cooks who volunteers here and really love the fellowship it offers,” he said as he sipped on some hot coffee after enjoying the turkey meal, complete with all the trimmings, a wide assortment of desserts and beverages. “Not many places are doing sit-down meals since COVID, and it’s so nice to see it here, as people really enjoy being with one another, having a meal together and talking.”
Generously sponsored by City of Newburgh-based businesses- Vesuvio’s Ristorante and Papaleo’s Auto Body-the dinner of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, sweet potatoes, mixed vegetables and dinner rolls also offered free coats, hats, gloves and scarves. It was assisted by multiple, loyal volunteers, each grateful for the opportunity to give back.
“It’s a great feeling to help out the community where you live,” said Glory Esparra, who was taking meal tickets and providing take out bags with her two teenage kids. “I love showing my children the beauty of service; they have also done some things over the last year, helping feed the homeless and assisting in a shelter.”
That giving spirit could be spotted throughout Sacred Heart Parish Center Thanksgiving Day. From handing out meal tickets, to serving meals, to offering cheerful greetings and much-welcomed conversation and warm smiles, volunteers helped make the memorable event even more special with their kind gestures right from the heart.
“We’ve been volunteering for a few years now,” said Middletown youth Kyle, Gianna and Stevie, who were handing out homemade desserts- including chocolate cake and lemon meringue and cherry pie as well as helping with coffee. “I’m so glad we can provide a meal to those who may not be able to have one otherwise and hope that by doing this we can make at least one person’s day a little brighter.”
From the looks of all the smiles as well as uplifting chatter, laughter, and “thank you” responses that could be heard, that hope was most assuredly fulfilled.