22 Aug 2014
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Food, Folks and Fun Amid Sandy Stress

St. Peter's Episcopal Church hosted a community dinner event Thursday night.

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For those that stopped by St. Peter's Episcopal Church's Maple Avenue hall Thursday night, it wasn't just about the food and drink. It was about community, something positive, simply a reason to get out of a dark, cold house.

And, the whole thing came together pretty much in one afternoon.

"We knew people would be hungry tonight," said the Rev. Janet Broderick as she moved from the serving table to check on another pot of coffee being brewed.

The food didn't hurt. Nor, the ability to recharge their electronics.

But, it also was about simply doing something besides worrying about hurricanes.

"I might not have access for weeks to my apartment," New York City resident Carlos Castenada said. Visiting his mother Luzmila Goldsmith in Morristown during the storm, Thursday night's dinner at the church also was an opportunity to get out of the house. "Someone told us to come here. I just wanted to get out and be around other people."

Goldsmith took a mozzarella stick from one of the parishioner volunteers walking around the room and smiled. "These are very nice things for those without power," she said. "This is a real relief for us and for everyone."

"We have been cooking non-stop," said Assistant Rector Melissa Hall, who was running from the kitchen to the serving area, letting people know what's running out. "We're thrilled and overwhelmed. We've cooked everything we could find in the kitchen."

That included several trays of lasagna, pasta, salad, meatballs and sausage, much of which was purchased a few hours before.

For some, everything in their kitchens, at least what's in the refridgerator, is long gone.

"We're dead in the water," said Bob Bodenstein of his hometown of Bernardsville. He has been spending plenty of time in Morristown since Sandy knocked power out up and down the state.

On his way back to town, Bodenstein read about the St. Peter's Community Event. "I think it's wonderful," he said. "Morristown is the light in this dark pit."

Indeed, plenty of businesses and other facilities have opened up to the public for assistance since the hurricane swept through. But, at St. Peter's on Thursday, the hope was not just to give people a place to get out of the cold and to get their iPhones juiced, but to also give a little neighborhood cameraderie in these sullen times.

And, they're doing it again on Friday morning for breakfast.

Amidst the hum of conversation, the shouting of children, Rev. Broderick stood and let everyone know the church would again be open by 8 a.m. for coffee and muffins for all. "We'll keep it going until everybody's powered up," she said.

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