By JOANNE L. PAPAIANNI
A gala celebrating the 30th anniversary of Interfaith Neighbors drew a crowd of 400 to Monmouth University’s OceanFirst Bank Center to honor two luminaries of the Jersey Shore: Joseph Mamora and John K. Lloyd.
Memora is founder and executive director of Interfaith Neighbors and Lloyd is the co-chief executive officer of Hackensack Meridian Health.
Both men are retiring this year.
The event, Decades of Dedication Gala, was held June 14 and will support Interfaith Neighbors’ programs.
New Jersey Natural Gas, Jersey Mike’s, and Hackensack Meridian Health were lead sponsors of the event.
The event brought out longtime donors and elected officials including Gov. Philip Murphy and Freeholder Thomas Arnone along with Asbury Park Mayor John Moor and council members, Yvonne Clayton, Jesse Kendle and Eileen Chapman.
Marmora has worked the past three decades to carry out Interfaith’s initial mission to prevent homelessness by providing rental and mortgage assistance to families and individuals experiencing a temporary crisis resulting in unexpected expenses or loss of income.
The Asbury Park-based nonprofit also operates Monmouth County’s Meals on Wheels program, and has constructed more than 50 new affordable houses or housing units.
Interfaith is playing a major role in reviving the economic and community life of Asbury Park’s West Side, which includes building the Springwood Center. where the senior center is located, and providing work opportunities and job training at the Kula Café and Kula Urban Farm.
“Joe has always been an outstanding person to me,” Kendle said. “His heart’s in the right place. I’m happy we are here to share this.”
Mayor Moor said he grew up on the same street as the Marmora family in Ocean Township.
“He is nothing but a gentleman and a scholar,” he said.
Marmora was introduced by Larry Downes of NJ Resources, a longtime partner with Interfaith Neighbors on many of its projects.
Marmora in his remarks said there was something unfair having people praise his efforts.
“Praise the staff, they do the work, I get the credit,” he said. “Every day the staff comes there to help somebody.”
Marmora graciously thanked organizers of the the event and those who attended.
“I have three minutes to tell you about 30 years,” he said. “I will never forget this night as long as I live.”
Lloyd was introduced by Robert Garrett, co-CEO of Meridian Health who honored Lloyd for his efforts and leadership in transforming access to healthcare here at the Jersey Shore during his 30 years plus career.
“Community was always on John’s mind,” he said. “John Lloyd fell in love with health care and never looked back. John connects with people, he loves people, you get the same John Lloyd no matter where you are.”
He is credited for his vision to see that more care would be delivered outside of hospitals and in different settings – a national trend that’s underway to improve care and lower costs.