Thanksgiving is a week from tomorrow and it will probably take on a new meaning in the wake of recent developments. 

Cliff Baker
Cliff Baker (Facebook)

Some will wonder what it is they have to be thankful for while others will realize that just being in their home with family is enough to know that the day is special.

Cliff and Jaimee Baker of Toms River fall into the second group and are so thankful for the sacrifices many have made during and after Hurricane Sandy that they’re going to open their home on the holiday for those helping to Restore the Shore.  Both grew up here and I’ve known Cliff since he was a student and basketball player at Manchester Township High School.  He is one of those guys with boundless enthusiasm who always has a smile on his face and a nice word to say.

Cliff works in the food service industry and many of his friends with restaurants along the beach have been impacted by the storm with some wondering if there will be a tourism season next summer.  Along with Jaimee, a Toms River native and their two teen-age children The Bakers are extending an invitation to all of those from out of state who are here working in some capacity and have no home to go to for Thanksgiving dinner.

Their charitable effort is getting a large helping hand from Chef Mike Jurusz, best known for his work at The Atlantic Bar & Grill and most recently 709.  Chef Mike will prepare and help serve for what could be a large gathering and he’s getting contributions from Sal Chiarella of Rella’s, Danny from the Manasquan River Golf Club and the folks at Caffrey’s.

At this point the Bakers don’t know what to expect as far as turnout is concerned but they’re preparing for about 200 people at their home at 574 Loxley Drive in Toms River.  Basically they are just telling people to come between 1-6pm as its open seating so those working can just stop by when they have a break.

If you have questions then call Cliff at (732) 814-2064.  Talk about knowing the meaning of Thanksgiving; the Bakers personify that with the help of others.





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