Newark holiday event provides warm meals, essentials to the city's homeless population
The sounds of the holiday season are strong in Newark Friday as volunteers gather to serve a Christmas meal to homeless members of the community.
About 200 people are expected at the event sponsored by St. John's Church, McCloone's Restaurants and Holiday Express.
This is an annual event where homeless and low-income people are invited to warm up, eat a meal, be entertained and even receive some gifts. The gifts including clothing, hats, hygiene products and more.
This year things are different because of the current surge of COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, with the dinner being held outside under a tent and people being socially distant and many wearing masks.
St. John's Church Pastor Camilo Cruz says they can't solve all the issues those in need face, but they can bring them some joy.
"For the people who live in the streets, for all those who come here day by day through the year, we want to honor them. We want to give them company and want them, so they do not feel alone on Christmas and to bring some joy," Cruz says.
People started lining up early and the volunteers handed soup to keep everyone warm while they waited to get inside the tent.
The church serves about 500 meals to the needy every day of the year, except on Christmas Day. That is why each person at the event goes away with extra food to fill their bellies during the holiday.
McCloone's and Holiday Express donated all the food, while those volunteering are from St. John's Church.