If the first Thanksgiving really was about different groups coming together to share a meal, the Brick VFW is hosting the perfect tribute this year.
What began as an idea to help out storm-displaced members of Post No. 8867, on Mantoloking Road, have a hearty Thanksgiving meal has turned into a town-wide celebration that will bring members of the community together with National Guard troops serving in Brick in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.
"When people heard about this, the donations literally began pouring in," said Dolly Harris, the post's Jr. Vice Commander.
Those donations are being used to not only help storm victims with gift cards and other items, but to provide a full Thanksgiving dinner for up to 600 people.
Those will include the National Guard soldiers who have been working to protect the township's barrier island and certain mainland sections from looters in the wake of Sandy, and help in the relief effort.
Harris said soldiers dining at the VFW Thursday will include those of all ranks, up to and including a General Officer.
Members of the post will be serving the meals, including some who have had their own storm-related troubles.
"I tried to tell them, 'this dinner is for you,' but they said they would volunteer anyway," said Harris, of the post's members whose homes were damaged in the storm.
The post has been a key site in Brick for emergency personnel staging during the storm cleanup effort, and it has also served as a base for barrier island residents to access their home.
The dinner is open to the public, and will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.