Passaic mayor holds 3rd annual Super Bowl party for the homeless
A Passaic County mayor used Super Bowl Sunday as a day of dignity for the homeless.
It's become a tradition at the Salvation Army in Passaic, where members of need in the community were invited to enjoy the big game and warm food — all donated by local businesses. And this was just part of an all-day affair, thanks to Passaic volunteers.
"I think it's beautiful and I hope we can all get together and enjoy ourselves and have fun. That's all," said Dion Mouzone, who spent his first super bowl Sunday at the Salvation Army. For him, it brought a sense of family.
The event began in 2018 when Passaic Mayor Hector Lora borrowed his son's TV, grabbed some snacks, and invited those who had nowhere else to go.
"They sometimes go days without somebody even saying hello or looking them in the eye, but today we just get to be one big, happy family watching the game, discussing what our favorite team is," Lora said.
Game Day started with guests invited to showers and free haircuts at the city's Dignity House. From there, transportation was offered to the Salvation Army where snacks and drinks were waiting.
Although he's grateful for the gesture, Dewitt Stallings said the city could still do more by having the city extend the hours of its homeless shelters.
"Everyone is in here having a good time and then we're back out in the cold again... We need food, yeah, but really need a place to lay down," Stallings said.
Lora said a day like this is hoped to inspire guests to start their journey to a more sustainable life.
“I don't pretend to think I'm going to cure homelessness because we had a Super Bowl party. But I do believe that every little bit counts," Lora added. "Maybe this activity right here, sparks something in someone and they say 'you know what?, I want to call my brother' or 'I missed the days I used to do this with my family.'"
The Salvation Army also extended the invitation for guests to stay overnight if they needed to.