Thanksgiving meals for Sandy-weary residents in NJ

TOMS RIVER, N.J. - November 21, 2012

"It's been really, really tiring and tough and I saw this and I was just so happy!" said Toms River resident Victoria Krezonis.

Governor Chris Christie and his wife, Mary Pat, helped hand out some of the 22,000 meals offered at Lowe's stores statewide.

And the governor had a message for storm victims forced out of their homes for the holiday.

"While it will be a painful Thanksgiving for many," said Christie, "in some respects reflecting on what they've lost, if they're out of their homes – really, when you're with your family, that's where your home is."

The meals include ham or turkey, mashed potatoes, corn. It's a typical Thanksgiving dinner that because of circumstances, many people can't make themselves this year.

"It's very nice considering I don't have a kitchen to cook in," said Bonnie Gerlach.

She's one of many thankful to not have to worry about cooking a big Thanksgiving dinner.

"We're good people," said Jimmy Pegaro of Toms River. "We work hard and we're breaking our backs right now to rebuild and get things back in order and this will help, believe me this will help."

Mother of two Victoria Herbert of Beachwood, NJ had her meal bag in one hand and her 6-week old son Declan in another.

"It's hard, you know? We had to buy a generator just to keep him warm," she said. "Just to have my hands full with the newborn not to have to worry about cooking, I can just concentrate on taking care of him and know there's still a normalcy for my son, the older one, to have a Thanksgiving."

It won't be like other years, but thanks to Lowe's, thousands of New Jerseyans still dealing with the storm aftermath will have a hot holiday meal.

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