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Monday, July 15, 2024


OC-UT Rotary Thanksgiving Dinner Is About Community

The Sukoneck family serves Thanksgiving dinner/William Matters (L) with Scott Carola (R)

By Camille Sailer

MARMORA – “It’s about community and not having Thanksgiving dinner by myself in isolation but to be here with other nice people over a delicious meal in a very friendly atmosphere,” William Matters said.

Matters, his friend Scott Carola and another friend came from Ocean City to the Trinity United Methodist Church in Marmora on Thanksgiving participate in a holiday meal served to residents of Ocean City and Upper Township. In fact, the slogan for the event was, “It’s not about being able to afford dinner; it’s about not being alone.”

That sentiment was shared by many who gathered for this unique occasion.

From homemade cranberry relish to pumpkin pie with whipped cream, to the “moistest turkey I’ve ever had,” as one guest said, this community event headed up by Sallie Godfrey was a time some people had been anticipating for a while. Godfrey recruited a small army of volunteers who bought, prepared, and served an array of traditional Thanksgiving favorites, with turkeys so plentiful in number that, besides using the Trinity UMC kitchen, they needed to be cooked in ovens at several other church kitchens including St. Peter’s United Methodist Church in Ocean City. Godfrey, whose family operates the Godfrey Funeral Homes, began shopping for all that was needed for the dinner days in advance. She was joined by Chris Pacifico, who spearheaded kitchen operations for mealtime.

“Even if you’re a millionaire, you don’t want to celebrate the holiday alone at home. And so, the intent of our dinner is to complement what various organizations do by distributing food baskets and Thanksgiving ingredients for meals at home,” Godfrey said.

With 40 minutes to go, the church had already served over 50 sit-down meals in the hall and given out over 60 boxed dinners. One person picked up 17 dinners to take back to a group home in Ocean City for shut-in residents to enjoy together, Godfrey said.

One group of volunteers who clearly understands the concept of gratitude underpinning the meaning of the holiday is the Sukoneck family. The father Sam, 10th-grader Aaron, and Anna in eighth grade, traveled from Cherry Hill to pitch in filling holiday-themed plates with turkey, stuffing and potatoes.

“I’m a member of Rotary, Aaron is in an associated service organization at school, and Anna is also volunteering for various projects, so we are really happy to be here and to be able to contribute,” Sam said.

Dean Marcolongo, from Marmora also said he was happy to help with the Thanksgiving dinner.

“I am thrilled to be able to support this dinner. For many years I helped out at something similar at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Ocean City but then those get-togethers ended. I get so much out of service here and seeing everyone have a great time, enjoying the delicious food and just being together in a fun                                                                                                               


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