Governor Chris Christie and First Lady Mary Pat Christie visited Ocean County residents hit hard by Superstorm Sandy today, helping pack and distribute Thanksgiving meals to families in need.

Governor Christie and Mary Pat Christie
(Stacy Proebstle, Townsquare Media)

Lowe’s, in cooperation with Boston Market, is providing 500 pre-made meals to each of the 22 New Jersey Lowe’s locations in communities most affected by Sandy.

In addition, 22 Cabinet members and agency heads supported the initiative by fanning out across the state to assist in the packaging and distribution efforts to residents in need.

Stacy Proebstle, Townsquare Media

"This is particularly important to help these families in need this year, given everything that the state has been through. I want everyone to take a deep breath tomorrow and remember the things we are thankful for and the things we lost we can rebuild, structures and infrastructure we can rebuild" Christie told the crowd at the Lowe's in Toms River.

But, he acknowledged it will be a difficult Thanksgiving for many families in the state.

"It will be a painful time for many folks, reflecting on what they've lost, but if you're with your family tomorrow on Thanksgiving that's what is most important and that's where your home is."

Stacy Proebstle, Townsquare Media

Many in the crowd were not only picking up food for themselves, but also helping out friends and neighbors.

"Our home was flooded and we can't roast our own turkey this year so we are getting a few meals for our family and our neighbors down the street that lost everything" said Ron from Toms River.

"This is a huge help this year, we lost all our food and this will allow me to feed my children a Thanksgiving meal" said Vanessa from Forked River.

"I'm surprising my neighbors who are too shy to come out and get a food donation, I know they went through a lot and they deserve this" said Danielle from Brick.

Today’s event kicks off the Christie Administration’s second annual Season of Service. Last year, Cabinet members participated in approximately 60 events across the state -- from serving meals on wheels to shut-ins and helping to serve and stock food pantries to stuffing care packages for military service members overseas and holiday letter writing to troops abroad to collecting and delivering coats to homeless shelters.

“As we begin this holiday season, many of our residents are hurting, having endured great hardship and loss as a result of Hurricane Sandy,” said Governor Christie. ”But, we are all one New Jersey family. When one family member is in need, we are all there to help, no matter how great or how small. It’s that commitment, resilience and generosity that make Mary Pat and I so proud of our state and our people.