More than 400 servicemen and servicewomen away from home and currently stationed at Fort Dix and McGuire Air Force Base will have Thanksgiving dinner with members of the Burlington County community this year as part of Operation Turkey Day.
The Burlington County Military Affairs Committee has coordinated with seven community organizations – the Elks lodges in Mount Holly, Bordentown and Edgewater Park; the VFW posts in Delran and Maple Shade; the American Legion post in Pemberton; and the Homestead Retirement Community in Mansfield - to serve dinner to an average of 60 troops each.
The Mount Holly Elks will serve dinner on Saturday night, Nov. 20, while the other organizations will serve dinner on Thanksgiving Day.
“We are pleased to have this opportunity to show our appreciation to our troops through Operation Turkey Day,’’ Freeholder Director Vincent R. Farias said. “We, in Burlington County, consider our servicemen and servicewomen our extended family, and family should be together on Thanksgiving.’’
BCMAC is a not-for-profit volunteer organization created by the Freeholders to support our local military. The majority of the Committee’s revenues come from fund-raisers and private donations.
“I also would like to thank the groups for sharing their Thanksgiving with our soldiers and airmen,’’ Farias continued. “These volunteers are just another example of why Burlington County is a special place.’’
U.S. Rep. H. James Saxton serves as honorary chairmen of BCMAC and, since Sept. 11, 2001, he has visited troops in Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Europe and other Middle East and U.S. locations.
“Our troops, both at home and abroad, need the support of their communities," Saxton said. "I believe it helps morale and shows American citizens support members of the American armed services. Thanksgiving is the right time to show that support."
In addition to the groups and posts, various BCMAC members and their associates will be hosting small numbers of troops in their homes for Thanksgiving dinner.
“This IS what we do,’’ BCMAC Chairwoman Lisa Post said. “If any members of the general public would like to contribute, they can do so by making monetary contributions.’’
BCMAC is committed to making financial contributions to the 1st Sergeants Fund to purchase "Turkey Baskets for Families in Need" during this holiday season. During the 2003 holiday season, over 100 needy families at McGuire AFB received a food basket.
Also, the Committee currently is engaged as a major sponsor for the "Hearts Apart" annual children’s Christmas Party at McGuire AFB. This event provides gifts and is a social event for the children who have either one or both parents deployed overseas.
Anyone wishing to make a contribution to defray the costs of these programs may do so buy sending a check to: BCMAC, PO Box 6000, Mount Holly, NJ 08060.