Volunteers preparing meals last Thanksgiving in the kitchen of Café Italia in Toms River (Townsquare Media NJ)

As grassroots organizations go “If There is a Need We Will Feed” is about as grassroots as it gets.

They were born out of Superstorm Sandy five years ago when so many from out of the area were here to help restore the shore.  Cliff Baker, a restaurant consultant for Singer Equipment Company, opened his Toms River home on Thanksgiving Day for those who did not have a place to go.

With help from his close friend Chef Mike Jurusz they served over 300 meals that day with some delivered to those who could not get to Baker’s home. A month later they served more than 600 people with a Christmas dinner, many of those had been displaced from their homes along with first responders and emergency personnel.

While some sense of normalcy has returned to the beach area the need to feed throughout Ocean County is greater than at any time with many adults and children going hungry on an almost daily basis. So Cliff, Chef Mike, Christine Hernandez, Michelle Jones and many other volunteers and friends are preparing for their 6th annual Thanksgiving Feeding.

They have been asked by various local agencies to prepare 600 hot meals for those in need and just over a week before Thanksgiving the wheels are in motion.

Mark Blackwell from Stop N Shop in Toms River has donated 20 turkeys, 600 drinks and 600 dinner rolls.  Caffrey’s in Forked River is making 400 pounds of their homemade mashed potatoes, Mulligan’s in Farmingdale has donated 6 turkeys and 250 pounds of mixed vegetables, Waypoint 622 in Brielle has chipped in with 6 turkeys and 200 pounds of mashed potatoes and stuffing, Bob’s Bagel Café in Toms River is not only donating and cooking 6 turkeys but also cooking another 12 to help the cause.  The restaurant and food service community has pulled together but it’s not too late for you to help.

They need more turkeys and if you want to help but can’t purchase one yourself you do so by PayPal through their website, ifthereisaneedwewillfeed.weebly.com.  You can also call Christine at 848-210-6759 to volunteer and become part of the effort to provide a little hope and happiness on a day when everyone should enjoy a hot meal.