NEWARK, N.J. (PIX11) — Denise, or Miss D, as she likes to go by is one of hundreds of people at The Mercy House in Newark taking home a turkey and trimmings.

Except, it’s not for her.

“No, it’s not for me,” said Denise. “It’s for my son.”

Two months ago, her son got hurt and hasn’t been able to work, meaning a Thanksgiving dinner was likely off the table. So, it’s mom to the rescue.

“He has three kids and I’m surprising him,” said Denise. “I can’t afford to feed him financially, so this is my best way of feeding him. If I have to cook, I’ll cook, and I hope not,” she said with a chuckle, “because I’m bringing the food.”

The Archdiocese of Newark says this is the biggest turkey giveaway in its history. Nearly 400 turkeys have been handed out across Mercy House’s three locations in Newark, Jersey City, and Elizabeth, thanks to volunteers like Brandon Codi, who took the day off to serve the community, even buying more turkeys to give to families. “I think it’s real easy to take for granted the fact that I always had a hot meal on my table and never had to worry about Thanksgiving dinner,” said Codi. “To be able to make sure other people experience that as well and have that joy of spending Thanksgiving with their family is just really rewarding.”

Early next year, The Mercy House will open another location in Bogota, which highlights the growing need for food and essentials.

“I would just say the food, the diapers, almost anything people would need to run a household, we find that they need it all here,” said Annette Miller, a director at Mercy House. 

It took a little more than an hour for The Mercy House to give away all the turkeys they had in their freezer, giving hundreds of families in Newark and beyond a happier Thanksgiving.

“Happy Thanksgiving to everybody, peace and love, and everybody gets full,” said Denise. “Even the homeless.”