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Volunteers Donate Time on Thanksgiving

11-28-13

They call themselves Harvey’s Helpers. These volunteers donate their time on Thanksgiving Day for strangers.

“I like to see the smile on people’s faces when they get a good meal,” said William Tweedie.

That good meal includes all the holiday favorites, turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, cranberries, and so much more. All are welcome for this Thanksgiving feast in Bradley Beach. Harvey Erving got the idea 15 years ago when he was working in a coffee shop.

“One day I asked one of my customers what she was doing for Thanksgiving and she said she was going to go out and get a TV dinner and I said wait a minute. I said come over to the coffee shop I’ll make some turkey,” said Erving

Harvey served about 30 people that day. Flash forward 15 years later, he’s served thousands.

“I’m thankful I’ve been quite ill. I had three battles with cancer I survived them all so the good Lord is keeping me on earth in part to volunteer,” said Erving.

Today this father and son are grateful to share a meal together here.

“It’s like a home cooked meal away from home. It just feels good to be sitting down with family and being able to eat,” said Shawn Williams

“Food is not easy to come by and I’m so glad they’re doing this so I can be here as well. For me to be here right now I’m blessed,” said Tyresc Williams.

“I get a good meal and everything else and friends I have around here and enjoy myself on Thanksgiving,” said Belmar resident James Gray.

An Ocean Grove restaurant owner cooks 15 turkeys and 10 hams. A small army of volunteers young and old, prepare the sides. Everything is donated.

“Happy and yeah happy, very happy,” said volunteer Allie Bouchoux

This volunteer is here on business away from his home and family in Hawaii.

“It’s just in our hearts as Hawaiians, that’s how we give you know and help out in anyway we can,” said volunteer Arcas Aikau.

“Just seeing people putting out there heart for others especially in this day and age it’s kinda rare a bit to see so many people come out in droves that want to help it’s very inspiring, it’s definitely love in this place,” said Pastor Lakesha Groover.

This isn’t the only meal Harvey’s Helpers prepare. After today’s festivities, volunteers will get right back to work, for Christmas. On that day they typically serve about 200 people and offer delivery service for those home-bound.

“I won’t quit, that’s the whole thing. What we do now will come back 10 fold it always does,” said Erving.