Happy Thanksgiving! A hero among us & #GivingTuesday in Hoboken

I don’t know about you, but Thanksgiving is my favorite day of the year. 

What I have always loved best about this day is that the noise of the world is temporarily overshadowed by the restorative and heartfelt feelings of Thanks and Giving. This year feels a little different though, with the backdrop of war around the world impacting so many that we know and love.  This year, please give actual time today to express thanks for the heroes who have peace, freedom and love not only in their hearts but in their actions.  Peace can only happen, freedoms can only be retained, and love can only be shared if we embrace these principles, support those who fight for them and talk about it around the table we share with friends and family.  

I want to once again highlight our own local Thanksgiving hero, Mario Albunia, owners of Mario’s Pizza at 8th and Garden, and his family.  For over two decades and once again, Mario’s is giving free Thanksgiving Dinner to anyone who wants one.  
Photo credit: Hoboken Patch
Last year he gave away 300 turkey dinners with all the fixings to neighbors and students who don’t have family in the area, those who don’t have the means and those who want to just hang out with Mario’s family.  If you don’t have plans, join his “family” between 11am and 7pm.  And even if you will be sitting for dinner somewhere else, on your walk home or walk there, stop in and thank him.  Mario is the best of the best and is the true meaning of what Thanksgiving is about.  #angelsamongus #notallheroeswearcapes
A global day of kindness, generosity, and solidarity to support community non-profits. It has grown from a simple concept to an annually celebrated day worldwide, with millions participating. Some may think it is silly but I personally believe if we are going to commercialize a Friday and a Monday for seasonal gift buying, then I wholly support allowing Tuesday to tug at our more charitable sides and be for seasonal donating.  I know that people always want to find ways to give back in their own community so here are a few local non-profits who rely on, and would greatly appreciate donations from you, to help provide their services to our wonderful Hoboken community.  I have made it easy for you – one link to the non-profit to learn more, the next to donate!  Easy peasy (thank you for being generous):
Serving hundreds in our community, the Hoboken Food Pantry relies on financial and food donations and volunteers to help Hoboken residents who are experiencing food insecurities.
Fosters a commitment to youth and teens that will promote pro-social friendships, strong interpersonal skills and reassert sense of hope in the future.
Their mission is to save the environment by finding new homes for gently used and discarded items and what this means is that they link donations of any kind with the not for profit organizations or individuals that need them.  But to be successful and to be able to operate, they also need financial donations to cover the cost of moving and storing items.
The HPEF’s mission is to support Hoboken’s public district schools by elevating and enhancing the public education experience through private funding.
Hoboken’s only one-on-one mentoring program that connects children ages 7 - 17 with caring adult mentors. TRUE stands for True Relationships Unearth Excellence. They believe that through an encouraging relationship children can build confidence and make better life decisions.
The value of this organization in our community goes without saying.  Addressing food insecurities of hundreds of homeless people daily, housing 50 people nightly, and providing training, education and social support to help improve the lives of so many.
Imagine if you had no access to healthcare because you just couldn’t afford it.  Hoboken Family Planning provides reproductive health and cancer screening services for uninsured and low-income women and men with fees based on the ability to pay and no one is ever refused service because of their inability to pay.
Give | St. Matthew Trinity Lutheran Church (ccbchurch.com) – designate the lunch time ministry 
Their mission since they opened in the 1970’s is to provide our Hoboken neighbors with a warm meal, a compassionate community, and a peaceful place to spend the morning.
HOPES is committed to addressing the barriers and causes of poverty by empowering individuals and families toward self-sufficiency. They have diverse programs for the entire range of our community from: ​​Expectant Women, Infants and Toddlers, Preschool Children, Youth, Adults, and Seniors.
In Jesus Name was founded in 1981 when the Hoboken Clergy Coalition formed to respond to the various needs of the Hoboken’s most vulnerable neighbors and is tax exempt as a church organization hosted by Our Lady of Grace Church.
The Hoboken Historical Museum advances the understanding and exploration of Hoboken history, culture, and architecture and serves our community as a vibrant, dynamic, all-inclusive and exciting organization that is fully involved in the life of the City of Hoboken.
A real gem in our community, founded in 2003, MST’s mission is to enrich and engage the residents of our community and beyond through the production of professional theatre and innovative arts education.
This is my pet non-profit (no pun intended).  They are a 100% volunteer based organization whose mission is to rescue abandoned and neglected rabbits and place them into loving forever homes in the NYC/Northern NJ area.  I have worked closely with their teams multiple times in and around Hoboken and adopted my two rabbits Mama G and Sam from them last year.  
When I get calls from Hoboken neighbors to help save an injured or orphaned bird, which happens about once per month, this is where I take them.  Their mission is to provide medical care and rehabilitation to native and passing migrant wildlife so that they can be released back into the wild. 
My plans this year are to join 17 friends and familymembers at my father's.  I am so grateful that we get to continue my parent's tradition of hosting a huge, love filled gathering.  My mother, who ruled the roost and directed the day, left big shoes to fill that my father, sister and I, along with the generosity from all who attend, work hard to fill, even though we know we never will completely.  But we are getting close. 
May your home and heart be filled with those you love, gratitude and thanks for all in your life and a sense of purpose and giving for those who need it most.  From my home to yours, and especially all who have an empty chair this year, Happy Thanksgiving.  
Hoboken City Council, 2nd Ward
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