Morristown churches come together to feed people still affected by Sandy

Volunteers Marie Renee Pierre, Maria Martin, Gloria Lengua, Bertha Cardenas, and Maria Vargas of St. Margaret's Church in the Leni Muscarella Memorial Kitchen at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Volunteers Marie Renee Pierre, Maria Martin, Gloria Lengua, Bertha Cardenas, and Maria Vargas of St. Margaret's Church in the Leni Muscarella Memorial Kitchen at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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It was a road trip, of sorts.

Volunteers from St. Margaret’s Church on Sussex Avenue traveled around the Morristown Green on Tuesday, to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church on South Street. They took a turn serving dinner to residents who still are without power in the wake of last month’s Hurricane Sandy.

Volunteers Marie Renee Pierre, Maria Martin, Gloria Lengua, Bertha Cardenas, and Maria Vargas of St. Margaret's Church in the Leni Muscarella Memorial Kitchen at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Volunteers Marie Renee Pierre, Maria Martin, Gloria Lengua, Bertha Cardenas, and Maria Vargas of St. Margaret's Church in the Leni Muscarella Memorial Kitchen at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Morristown. They are part of a multi-church effort to feed residents affected by Hurricane Sandy. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

St. Peter’s began serving these meals on Nov. 2.  Morristown police convened a meeting of area clergy this week, and a number of churches have offered to join the effort at St. Peter’s, which features a large hall and a modern kitchen, named for late parishioner Leni Muscarella.

“We’re very happy to do it,” said the Rev. Hernan Arias, pastor of the Catholic congregation at St. Margaret’s, and an alumnus of Morristown High School. “St. Margaret’s is not just a little church where we gather to do prayers. We also reach out. As Christians, we are to share in the pain and suffering and difficulties of people. This is what it means to be a Christian.”

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Volunteers from St. Margaret’s and Long Hill Chapel in Chatham served pasta, meat loaf, sausages, salad and cake to residents who appeared happy to share a meal and conversation in a cheery place with lights and heat.

One guest enjoyed the experience so much, he suggested the town should host a monthly pot-luck supper, just so neighbors can meet each other.

Wednesday’s breakfast shift was staffed by volunteers from a Christian organization called The Potter’s House. Assumption Church, which has been serving light breakfasts and lunches at its Maple Avenue hall, signed on for the lunch shift at St. Peter’s. Volunteers from St. Peter’s are scheduled to serve dinner at 6 p.m.

Approximately 3,600 customers in Morristown, Morris Township and Morris Plains still awaited restoration of their electricity on Wednesday, according to Jersey Central Power & Light.  More outages are possible from a nor’easter predicted to strike New Jersey on Wednesday and Thursday.

The Rev. Janet Broderick, rector of St. Peter’s, has set a goal of continuing the meals as long as area residents are without electricity. On Monday she issued a public appeal for volunteers and food donations to keep the effort alive.

IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS
Emergency: 911
Police non-emergency: 973-989-2793
Public shelter: 973-292-4884
Report downed wires: 973-538-2800
Report power outages: 1-888-544-4877.

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