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Bradley Beach Food Pantry Seeks Donations, Volunteers

 

coaster-news-200By MELISSA BEVERIDGE

Linda Curtiss, the director of the Bradley Beach Food Pantry, addressed the Bradley Beach Borough Council this week urging residents and officials to donate whatever they can to the food pantry.

“We will accept anything that’s edible,” Curtiss said.

The Bradley Beach Food Pantry is the third largest food pantry served by the Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties.

Despite their large dependence on the Foodbank, the pantry spends an additional $30,000 plus per year to purchase food and packaging supplies. With the help of volunteers, the pantry assists over 20,000 people per year in food assistance in Bradley Beach.

During her presentation, Curtiss said 60 percent of kids in Bradley Beach’s elementary school qualify for free or reduced meals and according to the census, 12.9 percent of residents have incomes at or below poverty level in town.

The pantry’s goal is to give a family three days worth of food, which is based upon the emergency food principle. Curtiss has found that the most demanding month tends to be August, so the pantry is looking to stock their resources for the upcoming demand.

Due to the pantry’s partnership with the Foodbank, Curtiss said that the pantry can only allow families to come once per month due to additional restrictions on federal donated food items.

According to federal regulations, any food purchased with federal aid money can only be given to families once per month. Despite having additional food donations from other sources, the pantry is still unable to assist them because of lack of resources and confusion.

“It’s hard to keep track of the various families coming in,” Curtiss said. “I’m here to ask you, the council, to advocate for us in town for the needs of the food pantry.”

She said the pantry is always in need of donations and volunteers including help with marketing, handiwork, and packing supplies. In terms of donations.

After hearing Curtis’ plea for support Mayor Gary Engelstad suggested that the Pantry become a part of the Chamber of Commerce for additional coverage and also be a part of October’s National Make a Difference Day. Curtiss also suggested a joint arrangement between the Pantry and a community garden where recipients could assist in the garden’s maintenance.

For more information about volunteering and donating to the Bradley Beach Food Pantry, contact Linda Curtiss at bradleyfoodpantry@gmail.com.

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