Volunteers feed hundreds for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving at the Knights of Columbus

KEYPORT — What does it take to feed 880 people?

  • 47 turkeys,
  • 240 pounds of ham,
  • 150 pounds of mashed potatoes,
  • 1oo pounds of sweet potatoes,
  • 200 pounds of stuffing,
  • 20 gallons of gravy,
  • Eight cases of apple cider,
  • Eight cases of cranberry sauce,
  • 50 pounds of mixed vegetables,
  • More than 100 volunteers.

Today, the St. Joseph’s Knights of Columbus clubhouse on Route 36 is the center of an operation that will feed two shifts of police officers at six departments; the residents of McGrath Towers in Keansburg, Bethany Manor in Hazlet, and Bethany Tower, the Keyport Leisure Apartments and the Fisher Boarding Home in Keyport. Dinners will be served at Uptown Bar & Grill, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Keansburg, Calvary Methodist Church and the Knights’ clubhouse itself. In addition, deliveries will be made to more than 50 homes in Keyport and Union Beach to singles and families with as many as six people.

This is the third year that the Knights have hosted the meal, but ex-Mayor John Merla has organized the event for the past five years. The effort fed more than 200 people in the first year.

“I just put an announcement on Facebook and it just snowballed like you can’t believe,” Merla said.

The Keyport business community donates most of the turkeys, hams and other sides. A network of volunteers starts cooking the turkeys and hams on Wednesday. Food is delivered starting at 11 a.m. and continues all day Thanksgiving until 6 p.m.


“It’s tough times for everybody right now,” Merla said. “If we can make 100 families in the Bayshore happy, then we have done our part.”