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Families Set A Place At Their Thanksgiving Table for Sandy Victims, Workers

Website aims to match people who have been displaced by the storm - or those workers who may be away from their families but have come to New Jersey to help with relief efforts.

With her daughter living in Brick Township, Jennifer Kaufman was - like many - watching the news on the day Sandy hit, and afterward, worried about her daughter Lily and the rest of her friends at the Jersey Shore.

Kaufman, who lives in Bergen County, felt like she needed to do something.

"My daughter lives in Brick on the water. She had damage, and it was frustrating because I couldn't get to her at first," she said. The self-described "computer geek" took to the Internet and started a Facebook group: "A Place at the Table, A Thanksgiving Table Share."

The website aims to match people who have been displaced by the storm - or those workers who may be away from their families but have come to New Jersey to help with relief efforts - with people who may need a Thanksgiving dinner this week.

In the week since the page launched, Kaufman said about 350 families have signed up to help out.

Earlier today, one family simply requested a turkey, and had one delivered the same day by another Toms River-area resident.  Kaufman said she is letting people know if they are matched up with a family once someone from a specific area puts in a request. She is expecting to contact families this week, as it gets closer to Thanksgiving day. 

She said the outpouring of support for the site has been "overwhelming," but she said, she understands why people want to help.

"We've all been affected by this storm," she said. "People just want to help each other." To register to be a host family or be hosted, click on this link

Lori November 18, 2012 at 09:24 PM
What an awesome idea, I think this could work every year not just during this storm recovery, sad to think that there are people out there who have no one to share the holiday with
Denise Gioffre Scalvino November 18, 2012 at 09:40 PM
We applied to be hosts. Waiting to hear on our family match in Manahawkin.
Rich November 18, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Are there any kind of background checks involved here? Don't get me wrong, I think it is an extremely nice concept and the people offering to open up their home are very generous....however, even in tough times like this, I think we all need to remember that its not the 1950's where you can just welcome people into your life with open arms. It concerns me that there may be families with children who have good intentions here, but could be opening up their doors to potential harm in not knowing the people they will be engaging with....and vice versa, you may have a displaced family with kids, or a single mom with kids who is sent to a home where the people are not on the up and up. Look, I would hope that most people involved with this are good people....but I think it is naive to assume that everyone has a heart of gold....even after a disaster.
TomTurkey November 18, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Many of the area supermarkets are allowing those free turkeys folks earn by shopping to be donated to the food supply effort for Sandy. Another great idea.
Katarine November 19, 2012 at 11:59 AM
Also applied to be hosts and waiting for a family match!!! This is a wonderful idea!!
Teresa Petty November 20, 2012 at 01:55 AM
C n G Country Cafe located in the KMart Shopping Plaza, Rt. 37 Toms River, will be providing FREE Thanksgiving Dinners including soup, salad, turkey, side dishes, dessert for ANYONE IN NEED. The hours are 1:00 P.M. - 4:30 P.M. on Thanksgiving Day. We will serve on a first come first serve basis. If you'd like to call to let us know your are coming, please reach us at 732 -281-2200. From our family to yours, we wish you a blessed holiday season.
Vee November 20, 2012 at 04:29 AM
Rich I have to agree with you, it's sad but true,
suz November 20, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Wow, that is great that you guys are willing to give up your Thanksgiving to help other...God bless!

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