Morris County officials lend a hand at Morristown’s newest soup kitchen

By Berit Ollestad

Newly elected Morris County Clerk Ann Grossi answered the call when Bethel A.M.E. Church Pastor Sidney Williams Jr. asked her to volunteer at the church’s community soup kitchen, Table of Hope, on Martin Luther King Day.

Pastor Sidney Williams Jr., center, gets a hand from Morris County Clerk Ann Grossi, right, and friends at the Table of Hope soup kitchen. Photo by Berit Ollestad

Pastor Sidney Williams Jr., center, gets a hand from Morris County Clerk Ann Grossi, right, and friends at the Table of Hope soup kitchen. Photo by Berit Ollestad

“I first met the pastor when the church was presented with the historical marker out front, and our friendship just blossomed from there.

“I asked him if he would pray for me when I was running for the clerk’s position” said Grossi, a former Morris freeholder from Parsippany who was elected to the clerk’s job in November.

Grossi, who also is an attorney, said her vision is to transform that office into an “economic engine” to help attract global companies to Morris County.

Freeholder John Cesaro also pitched in at the soup kitchen, which launched last fall in Morristown.

“The Reverend is a good friend and he needed help, so I answered his call,” said Cesaro, a former Parsippany councilman.

The soup kitchen has expanded from serving dinners Monday through Friday, adding a delivery service to the seniors center on Early Street.

Pastor Sidney Williams Jr. and Morris Freeholder John Cesaro at the Bethel A.M.E. Church soup kitchen in Morristown. Photo by Berit Ollestad.

Pastor Sidney Williams Jr. and Morris Freeholder John Cesaro at the Bethel A.M.E. Church soup kitchen in Morristown. Photo by Berit Ollestad.

According to parishioner and Chief Delivery Driver Raymond Graves, “People are always so happy to see me and I run across a lot of folks that I grew up with that are so appreciative that the church is helping to take care of their family members.

“It’s humbling for me to see where people are ‘standing in life,’ and it’s a joy to know I’m doing God’s work,” said Graves.

Pastor Williams, who attended the annual Morris Interfaith Breakfast earlier on Monday, said he is determined to improve relations with Morris County officials, whose headquarters are only a few blocks across town.

“It has somewhat become a priority of mine to bring people into the Second Ward from the county, especially in the evening because we tend to get overlooked at times.

“Today (MLK Day) was especially important for me and my family to attend the Morris Interfaith Breakfast. But it is especially important for us to serve the poor and disadvantaged here in our community. Today was also an opportunity to build bridges and to reach out to people that wouldn’t necessarily be too familiar with this area.”

The Table of Hope Soup Kitchen on Martin Luther King Day 2014. Photo by Berit Ollestad

The Table of Hope Soup Kitchen on Martin Luther King Day 2014. Photo by Berit Ollestad

 

 



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