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Community Food Bank of NJ hands out Turkeys for Thanksgiving

HILLSIDE – The Community Food Bank of New Jersey handed out food to people in need on Thursday. Community Food Bank of New Jersey Repack Supervisor Omar Henegan use to be the one receiving the food, however, after turning his life around, he is the one giving the food out.

“Today it’s them, tomorrow it could be me or you. Things could change in 24 hours, in the blink of an eye,” Henegan said. “I had to battle some issues. I tried to use drugs, I tried to sell them. It didn’t work.”

Henegan grew up in Newark and ended being a product of his environment at a time when selling drugs was a way to get by for many. Having worked for the food bank for 23 years after starting out as a day-rate employee, Omar said he has noticed a drastic drop in volunteers from his early years here.

“A day between 100 and 200 easy, but now the numbers are dropping. We used to have people that donate the food, now they’re on the receiving end,” Henegan said.

The Community Food Bank of New Jersey is distributing turkeys throughout November to local community partners for Thanksgiving, but Henegan said the charitable work goes beyond the holidays.

“That’s symbolic. We’re talking about tonight. Today is Thanksgiving for me. Today I have a job. I have my health. I’m breathing air,” Henegan said.

The Community Food Bank of New Jersey is part of the state’s Federation of Food Banks that provide food and other services for about 1,000,000,000 New Jerseyans. After overcoming the challenges of being in need, the now repack supervisor said even just helping one of the million is rewarding in itself each day.

“Today I can say I helped somebody. I can’t help everybody, but today I can say I helped somebody,” Henegan said.