Pictured above: Volunteers at the Bradley Beach Food Pantry. Photo courtesy of bradleybeachfoodpantry.org.
By JOSEPH SAPIA
No one should go to sleep at night without someone having his or her back.
That is what is guiding George Moffett in his project to improve the Bradley Food Pantry, specifically leading an effort to raise $16,000 for refrigerator and freezer units. The money would fully support replacing a refrigerator-freezer in the pantry and to install a walk-in freezer in the basement, replacing three chest freezers. The current units are in some way inefficient, according to the pantry.
“I don’t think there’s any question we can raise it,” said Moffet, 84, an on-and-off volunteer at the pantry, housed on the grounds of St. James Episcopal Church in Bradley Beach, for the lat eight to 10 years.
Moffett, who lives in Wall but previously a resident of Bradley Bearch, where he is the retired long-time borough clerk and a former member of the Borough Council, just was not sure how long it would take to raise the money.
But Linda Curtiss, the pantry’s director, is looking at three or four months.
“People lose interest if you drag it on for too long,” Curtiss said. “It certainly should be achievable in a few months.”
One reason is because the center has not badgered people for donations for a capital improvement campaign, Curtiss said. This would be the first in 20 years, since there was a campaign to match funds provided by Bea Shafer in her will and was used to building the pantry’s home on the church property.
So, the fund-raising will start soon, reaching out to the pantry’s service area of Bradley Beach, Avon, Ocean Grove, Neptune, Neptune City, Asbury Park, Belmar, Lake Como and Wall.
Visitors to the pantry should meet certain guidelines (such as being on Medicaid, having a low income by federal standards or need because of a disaster) and can come once a month, per regulations for federally distributed food. But anyone who comes in and requests food gets it, Curtiss said.
Distributed goods are a combination of federal and state government-supplied, donated and bought items.
In September, for example, the pantry served 636 families, equaling 1,708 people. The pantry, according to Curtiss, has an annual operating budget of $30,000 — $20,000 to buy food, the other $10,000 for supplies, maintenance, and utilities.
The 32-year-old pantry, an incorporated and non-profit charity, is all-volunteer, run by about 85 people who do a variety of jobs, Curtiss said. More volunteers are welcome, Curtiss said.
Anyone who wants to volunteer at the pantry can do so Saturday, Nov. 1, for Bradley Beach’s “Make A Difference Day,” a nationwide day of community service sponsored by USA Weekend Magazine and the Points of Light organization.
Volunteers at this year’s Make A Difference Day will clean out the pantry’s basement, put up shelving donated by Saker ShopRite in Freehold, and restock the shelves, Curtiss said.
Re-usable bags will be available around town for people to fill with goods for the pantry. Pantry volunteers will pick up the filled bags from front porches that same day.
The Bradley Food Pantry is at the Bea Shafer Outreach Center on the grounds of St. James Episcopal Church, 605 4th Ave. at Hammond Avenue, Bradley Beach, 07720; telephone: 732-775-0161; e-mail: email@example.com; website: www.bradleyfoodpantry.org. Pantry hours are 10 a.m. to noon, Monday to Friday.