NEW BRITAIN – In a partnership between the New Britain Police Department and the Black Ministerial Alliance of New Britain, dozens gathered coats and meals for hundreds of area residents as a means of paying it forward during the fourth annual Thanksgiving Day Feast Thursday.
“We feed a lot of people. Whatever we can do to fill a gap,” said Rev. Gervais Barger, Black Ministerial Alliance of New Britain president. “We can be right here passing out coats or meals. I wish we could do this every day, but the truth of the matter is that people’s needs are more than just today. This is a special day though that they can get a meal and it’s something they don’t have to worry about.”
Barger said for him being able to be out and help others meant “the world.” He had spent several years as a coach and a teacher, but being able to be part of partnerships reaching the lives of others in such a way was a step apart.
“We go to church every Sunday,” he said, “but to do church and not do this, to me that would not be in line with what the Word of God is saying. You can’t just preach it and then not do it yourself. That sends a phony, false message. This is what I call the fulfillment. It’s the promise we preach about.”
Area resident and volunteer Jasmin Rivera and her daughter Aaliyah Rivera helped hand meals and supplies to visitors as part of the partnership. She noted her family took part in the New Britain Police Athletic League.
“My reason for coming out here is to show my daughter it’s a good thing to give back,” she said. “I’ve been in a position before when I was younger where we came to places like this and it’s always good to remember there are people less fortunate.”
New Britain City Alderman Alden Russell said he’s attended the giving event over the past few years.
“I feel it’s a great thing and for the people. We need to help the people that need the help,” he said. “There are many who don’t have food or places to go. So when we can get people together to help and with the police department, it’s a good thing.”
Alderman Howard Dyson said he had been a police commissioner in New Britain for several years in the past.
“People are appreciative and it’s good to watch the residents come in and smile,” he said. “If you go inside and watch the operation, it’s a lot.”
Dyson continued saying that community policing was about seeing officers and residents involved together in activities as a key part in the betterment of New Britain.