Generous Community

Dec 05, 2018

To the Editor:

At the beginning, The Sandbox Café Thanksgiving Feast was our way of expressing our gratitude to supportive local customers. Now, only three years later, it has become a wonderful event that brings our community together for good food and great fellowship.

Thanksgiving is the wonderful time of year when we are all reminded to be grateful. Every year that The Sandbox Café has hosted our annual complimentary Thanksgiving Feast, we are overwhelmed by messages of “thank you!”

This year we had a lot to be thankful for and we would like to express our gratitude to everyone who made our 2018 feast a beautiful success. We were incredibly blessed to have a number of Long Beach Island businesses contribute to the feast.

For the second year in a row, Tim Kohlheim of Shore Fire Grill provided us with yummy homemade cornbread stuffing. Mike Tomko of Wally’s made not one, but two styles of tasty potatoes. Becky G. Scott and Joe of Scojo’s made us an incredible amount of their delicious specialty butternut squash soup. Oyster crackers were given to us by our dear friend Carolyn Kasunich from Country Kettle Chowda.

Don Brown from The Greenhouse Café provided scrumptious vegetables. Dinner rolls were given to us by our neighbors at the Surf City Hotel. Our great close friends Cheryl and Herb Armstrong donated amazing fresh cranberry sauce made from the cranberries of Lee Farms. Nadia Din along with the Kaiser Din Foundation donated 20 delectable pies.

Shaun Kilroy from The WooHoo in Beach Haven, for the second year in a row, provided us with creamy and glorious homemade ice cream to serve with our pies. Produce for the event was donated by Silveri and Sons for the third year in a row. Tom LaBianco from US Foods graciously donated turkey and even more stuffing. Dr. Gilbert and other members of Ocean Family Dental proudly donated several turkeys for our amazing meal.

There were also many other members of the community who donated turkeys (a total of 245 pounds) and homemade pies that were out of this world. Thank you, all, for your generous donations.

There were many people who helped us on the day of the feast between serving, preparing and cleaning. Our wonderful server, Debbie Langton, brought her family and helped set up the dining room at the very beginning of the day. The Sharkey family and our friends Michelle and Dennis volunteered their time in the kitchen, peeling vegetables, making homemade gravy and carving turkeys. The Merk family also came to help prepare and serve our Thanksgiving meal for the second year in a row. Shaleen and Dave Conklin from The Learning Experience volunteered their time for the second year in a row.

Ryan Merkl was an incredible help in the kitchen by doing all of the dishes for the entire day. Many of our family members came from near and far: Jenna, Jon, Lili and Sadie Makos from Manahawkin, Nick and Pagean DiSalvio from Philadelphia, Wendy, Brian and Devin Sanders with Dollie Zell drove all the way from Mechanicsburg, Pa., to take part in our feast.

Words cannot express how much it means to truly bring a community together for such a wonderful day. By the end of the day, 167 meals were served and an incredible $1,115 in donations were collected for the St. Francis food pantry.

We listened to new friendships being formed, stories being told, and laughter being shared. A community of friends, old and new, and people young and old gathered together to share their Thanksgiving holiday with us. Thank you so much to everyone for filling our hearts as much as our bellies!

Dana and Vincent DiSalvio

The Sandbox Café

Surf City

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