Thanksgiving traditionally is the start of the Christmas season, the annual time where doing good for others takes center stage. That's certainly the case at RE/MAX First Choice Realty in Parsippany, which is owned by veteran realtor Jacqueline Scura.
For many years, Scura has organized an annual outreach event to provide holiday dinners to economically struggling area families. Called "Thanksgiving Dinner in a Bag," the idea behind the effort is to make sure families have an old-fashioned turkey dinner with all the trimmings on the big day. The bagged meal also allows these households the opportunity to have the holiday cooking experience so many find memorable.
Last year's event had an especially big response because many families were in need after Hurricane Irene and the October snowstorm, said Scura, who added that most of those who took her up on her generous offer in 2011 did so because of their Irene losses.
This year, most are back on their feet and the number of bags being distributed has dropped.
"We've already taken reservations for the year and done the shopping for the handout," she said. "This year we're helping over 15 households."
The bag each family receives contains a turkey, instant potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy, stuffing, butter, biscuits, whipped cream, a pie and canned corn and green beans.
"Many of the families come from Parsippany," said Scura. "This year it's spread out across Morris County [too]. We take RSVPs from families and then call them to let them know when they can pick up the bags from the office."
Giving credit where it's due, Scura noted that since last year, the turkeys have been donated by the Route 46 Shop Rite.
The realtor said the "Thanksgiving in a Bag" effort is all about giving back to her town.
"I've always felt that the surrounding communities have been good to me as loyal customers and referrers of business," explained Scura, who's served Parsippany's prospective homeowners for more than 26 years.
"It's my responsibility to help out in return."