Grocery Donation Celebrated As Needs Grow in Ocean County
A grocery donation in Toms River Tuesday only further highlights the needs of a growing population struggling to survive. The delivery, $500 worth of items from the Peapod, an online grocery provider affiliated with Stop & Shop, to the Ocean County Chapter of Your Grandmother's Cupboard in the Roslyn Plaza off Route 37.
Chapter President John Kane says the nonperishable food items, along with toilet paper and diapers, will last a couple of weeks and is sorely needed, especially in a county where over 62,000 people were at the poverty level in 2010. Kane says because of the midwestern drought and its expected impact on the cost of food, he anticipates even more people coming to their food pantry for help. "I'm afraid that so many more people are going to dropping in to seeing us and needing us that we're not going to be able to keep up with the demand."
Township Mayor Thomas Keleher joined the Peapod team with a truck to celebrate the delivery of the items. Keleher says the economic crises continues to impact the residents of the township where he gets frequent calls seeking jobs from a municipality that has had a hiring freeze in place for several years. Keleher says he also sees the copies of foreclosure notices climbing, impacting every quadrant of the township.
Keleher adds that the hands of local government officials are tied when it comes to helping in any significant way. He cites that they're obligated to stay under the state's 2% property tax cap for starters and then there's the rising healthcare cost and contract-negotiated pay increases, topped off with an unprecedented number of property tax reassessment appeals.
Kane says food, hygiene items, bedding, shoes and even cloths are distributed out their Toms River Pantry Tuesday through Friday from 10 Am to 4 PM. However, he says they also take the items to where the needs are visiting places like the Lacey Community Center, Lakewood, Tent City, Ken's Kitchen in Barnegat and even to Seaside Heights Motels where the County Board of Social Services houses many of the homeless. Kane says the numbers don't lie, from January to July of 2011 they served 1,451 people. However, during the same period this year they've served 2,247 people which is a staggering 55% increase.
Kane encourages people to donate nonperishable food, cloths and hygiene items. He says they'll even come to pick up the items, noting a regular stop at an age-restricted community that fills the delivery truck every time.
The lists of items needed include:
Clothing (folded and sorted)
Blankets and Sleeping Bags
Coats, Hats and Gloves
Bars of Soap
Combs and brushes
Feminine hygiene products
The 501(c)3 non-profit organization also accepts financial contributions that are tax-deductible and can be mailed to Your Grandmother's Cupboard, Roslyn Plaza, 173A Route 37 West, Toms River, NJ 08753. For more information call 732-240-0441 or check out their website www.yourgrandmotherscupboard.org