The smell of freshly baked apple pies and the sound of laughter between old friends will again fill the walls of Hastings-on-Hudson High School (HHS) as the school plays host to Project S.H.A.R.E’s annual Thanksgiving dinner Tuesday.
“It’s no nice to come home, it really is,” said Hastings resident Jeanne Newman, who founded the non-profit organization. “We’ve been really welcomed. It seems that everybody is really excited about having it [the dinner] back.”
Tuesday will be the twenty third year that Project S.H.A.R.E. invites more than 500 homeless people from New York City to enjoy a banquet style family meal served by volunteers, as well as fellowship and entertainment (including Ned the Clown and music by Greetings from Anywhere). Click here for a previous story on the event.
The feast was traditionally held at HHS, but has been held in other places like Our Lady of Good Counsel Academy and Congregation Kol Ami in White Plains over the last four years.
Newman, a graduate of the HHS class of 1969, started Project S.H.A.RE.—a volunteer service club for students—when she was a teacher at HHS as an offshoot of Midnight Run, an organization that brings food and toiletries to homeless people in New York City. Though Newman no longer teaches at HHS, students from the school are still heavily involved with the club year after year and organization.
More than 200 volunteers—from HHS, Our Lady of Good Counsel Academy, Pace University’s ASPIRE program, Scarsdale High School, Edgemont High School and Malloy College—will help to peel apples, mash potatoes, craft table décor, serve dinner guests and more.
While a downward economy has made a challenge of pulling off the dinner each years, as Project S.H.A.R.E pays for all the food and busing from New York City, this year presented a new set of challenges as Newman was without power for two weeks after Superstorm Sandy. Without power, heat or Internet—Newman had to charge her iPhone and work to organize the event out of her car.
“This was a very challenging year for us,” said Newman “I’ve always said I would do this until I no longer can and I was close this year. And it all came together amazing.”
Newman has a feeling that everyone will be extra grateful that Project S.H.A.R.E was able to make it work this year.
“I think everyone is going to be incredibly grateful for what they have this year, including myself,” said Newman. “Everyone has a personal reason for being grateful, I’m grateful in my mind for family and the fact that I didn’t lose my house in the Hurricane. It’s going to be very different this year.”
Project S.H.A.R.E. accepts tax-deductible donations all year round. Checks can be sent to: SHARE the Project Inc./ 161 Broadway/ Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706