Happy Thanksgiving, from Paterson, America

The Thanksgiving Drive in Paterson.

Organizing the drive.

PATERSON – Passaic County Freeholder Freeholder Assad Akhter this year organized a Thanksgiving Turkey drive for the communty with Calvary Baptist Church, the Islamic Center of Passaic County and Sheefa Pharmacy.

Members of the Eastside High School football team unpacked the birds from the Pennsylvania truck that shipped them here.

“They had to get back quickly because they have to beat Kennedy on Thanksgiving Day,” Akhter cracked.

The freeholder on Saturday stood outside the Islamic Center with his political mentor, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-9), Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh, and representatives from the non-profits to which they provided Turkeys: Eva’s Village; Oasis; Grandparents Resources Center; Faces of Fallen Fathers and Humble Beginnings.

Photos by Carina Pizarro

State Senator (and Union City Mayor) Brian P. Stack (D-33) inspired Akhter with the idea to organize the drive. But while Stack and his allies take turkeys door-to-door in compact Union City, the freeholder had the non-profit reps in sprawling Paterson come to the mosque to pick up the turkeys for their own pinpoint distribution later on their respective turfs of influence.

Mohammad Ahmad Hasan Qatanani, imam of the Islamic Center of Passaic County, said, “All the brothers and sisters are coming today to show the real America. America is united because of people.

“People coming together to feed those who are in need,” the imam added.


Pascrell quoted from the Bible, Isaiah: Chapter Six, Verse Eight.

“The Lord asks ‘Who shall I send?'”

“You all stepped forward,” Pascrell said. “Thank you so much, because you didn’t have to do it.

“Thanksgiving should be every day, because we have a lot to be thankful for,” the congressman added. “Some people will have some nourishment because of what you did. You didn’t have to do it. But you said, ‘Send me, Lord.'”


he Congressman and the Imam.
The Congressman and the Imam.

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