NEW BRITAIN – The free Thanksgiving Day Feast will once again take place Thanksgiving morning.
“This is the fourth year in a row that we’re going to be able to combine resources with several different agencies in the city to feed anybody who’s in need,” said Reverend Gervais Barger, president of the Black Ministerial Alliance of New Britain. “The event is outdoors again this year on the sidewalk alongside the New Britain Police Department located at 10 Chestnut Street.”
Four years ago they were able to have a sit down event indoors at St. Marks Church, but due to the pandemic, they have moved the event outdoors.
“I’m thankful to the police department, in partnership with the Black Ministerial Alliance, for continuing this tradition of providing a Thanksgiving meal for those in our community who are in need and we are grateful for the many residents who donated to make this important event possible,” Mayor Erin Stewart said.
Barger said BMA wants people to know the city of New Britain is about helping one another and using unity to make whatever they can happen.
“The Bible makes it clear; Jesus said, ‘In as much as you have duneth unto the least of these my brothers you’ve done it also unto me,’ and we want to be not just those people who preach about Christ on Sunday but we also want to demonstrate the love of Christ every day, and this is one of those opportunities that we have to do that,” Barger said.
Prepping for the event will start with volunteers packaging up all the meals Wednesday at 2 p.m. at the police department. Following that, at 5 p.m., they will put together the gift bags that will also be given out with the meals.
“We’re going to take all of the items that have been donated, the hats, scarves, gloves, socks, toiletries, etc. and make nice little gift bags for everyone,” Barger said.
At 10:30 a.m. on Thursday morning tables will be set up and all are welcomed from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. to grab some holiday goodies.
“You’ll first get your meal, then go to the next table and get a gift bag, then go to the next table and you’ll be able to pick out a winter coat, and those things are all free,” Barger said.
Those who are not physically able to make it volunteers will be available to deliver meals to you.
“We’re just asking people who can’t make it out to give us their names, phone numbers and how many meals they need to be delivered,” Barger said.
Last year they handed out 500 meals at the event.
“This year the police department was able to partner with Stop & Shop and Costco, which has bigger cans of stuff so as a result we’re praying that we have more food and we’re able to serve more people this year,” Barger said. “And I want to give a shout out to E.C. Goodwin Tech culinary school; I don’t think this could happen without them. I didn’t know they offer meals to the public and they do catering, but they’re doing a lot of the cooking for us, certainly all the turkeys.”
Barger said BMA has been blessed and they want to be a blessing to others.
“We’re grateful for all the churches that are a part the Black Ministerial Alliance and for all the people who are volunteering from all different areas – we have some professors from CCSU, public officials – and we’re just grateful for that,” Barger said. “And Chief [Christopher] Chute has done an excellent job working with us and planning this thing and keeping it alive and I’m just grateful for that relationship.”
“This annual event is a great example of the community coming together and helping those in need during the holidays,” Chute added.
The Black Ministerial Alliance is hoping next year it will be able to find a place where they’ll be able to have an indoor sit down meal and be able to serve everyone.
For those that wish to volunteer or would like meal deliveries contact Barger at 860-681-7251.
Ciara Hooks can be reached at email@example.com