IRVINGTON, NJ — The Irvington Neighborhood Improvement Corporation held a free pre-Thanksgiving community dinner at its headquarters on 16th Avenue.for senior citizens and residents of the neighborhood in and around 16th Avenue on Wednesday, Nov. 23.
Several attendees had only good things to say about the event and the people behind it.
“I like this place; I come here almost every day,” Fatime, one of the many township residents who came to share Thanksgiving dinner at the Irvington Neighborhood Improvement Corporation, said Wednesday, Nov. 23. “They’re respectful people, very loving that work through the day every day. I recommend them and this place to other people. They don’t look down on you and that’s a good thing.”
Sisters Taraya Hernandez and Shana Capers are both currently training to become nurses. Most of their time is dedicated to studying to earn their nursing degrees as full-time mothers and spouses, so they were especially appreciative of what the INIC offers them. They said that’s why they brought their children along with them to the dinner.
“I’m in school and my husband is the only one working right now; I am not broke (but) I’m part of the needy right now,” Hernandez said Wednesday, Nov. 23. “We’re in school together and we have three more months to go at Lincoln Technical Institute. I like helping people and, like with anything else, money is important, too. Nursing is a good job and you won’t ever be out of work.”
Capers rated the Irvington Neighborhood Improvement Corporation’s event an unqualified success, as did her sister.
“I have four children and I have to make a way for them,” Capers said Wednesday, Nov. 23. “It was a great event. It was an amazing turnout. You’re always going to have the chronicles of Irvington, but other than that, it was a great event.”
Capers said the event was also a learning experience for their children, because it taught them the importance of giving back to the community and the people in it. Mayor Tony Vauss agreed, but said the Irvington Neighborhood Improvement Corporation isn’t the only township department that did something great for the town and everyone in it.
“We also had a second community Thanksgiving dinner giveaway, which was done by our police department,” said Vauss on Tuesday, Nov. 29. “In Irvington, we believe in one team, one dream, because we are one family. Irvington strong.”
Twin sisters Sara and Merrill Olatunji, 15, who both want to be doctors when they grow up, said volunteering at the Irvington Neighborhood Improvement Corporation’s Thanksgiving Community Dinner on Wednesday, Nov. 23, along with their Irvington High School classmates, was a good learning experience.
“It’s more about helping people and that’s a good thing, because I just love helping people,” Sara said. “I love helping people. It gives me joy and happiness to see that I’ve actually impacted somebody else’s life. That’s why I want to be a doctor.”
According to Merrill, it’s not about getting, it’s about giving, saying, “It’s not about the get; it’s about the give. And for the get part, I’m always happy after I’m done. That’s my reward. That’s our reward.”