Mayor Hosts Super Bowl Party For City’s Homeless Residents
The gathering is quickly becoming a tradition for the entire community.
For most people, Super Bowl Sunday is about kicking back, watching sports and drinking a few cold ones. And of course, there should be some good munchies.
It's also about community.
Hector Carlos Lora, the mayor of Passaic, NJ, knows this well. For the past three years he's hosted Super Bowl parties for a part of his town's population that often gets overlooked.
Since 2018, Lora's been inviting the city's homeless residents to join him at Super Bowl "watch parties," where he provides the TV, snacks and drinks – he even arranges transportation to those who need it.
This year's party kicked off at the Dignity House, a temporary shelter and homeless resource center, where guests were invited to get showers and free haircuts from local barbers and hair stylists.
Then, people boarded a bus and went to the Salvation Army where a seating area was set up in front of a flat screen tv. There were drinks and a buffet of homemade food – all donated and prepared by members of the community.
Lora estimates around 30 homeless people reside in Passaic. Last year, 25 attended the watch party he threw at the Dignity House, a temporary shelter and resource center.
"For those few hours, whether we're telling each other jokes or sharing which commercial we thought was the best, we forgot that there were any differences or lines drawn between us," he told Northjersey.com. "We were just men and women watching the game together like a family."
Lora says that people are starting to catch on to the tradition. When he want around the city last week to spread the word about the party, most of the homeless residents already knew about it.
"They're like, yeah mayor, we know," he said.
He said in years past, people from the community would stop by and drop off supplies and donations, and they'll often strike up a conversation with the guests about the game.
"I don't have any dreams that I'm going to cure homelessness through this Super Bowl party, but I do think it brings us closer together and reminds us of the importance of seeing each other; just as people," Lora said.
It might not be the cure, but it's certainly a helpful remedy. Kudos to Mayor Hector Lora for taking care of his community and giving some much-needed relief to people who need it most.