Sanctuary Program Restarts This Weekend
A seasonal Freehold-based soup kitchen restarts for an eleventh year this weekend. The Sanctuary program that began primarily as a shelter from New Jersey's cold long winters for immigrant day laborers, will begin serving breakfast and lunch at the First United Methodist Church on West Main Street.
Sanctuary Co-Coordinator Ann Bagchi of the Latino Coalition, said the numbers of the transient population of day laborers has gone down in recent years but they've been replaced by the homeless, unemployed and the working poor needing their services.
"We would serve on average about 150 meals, especially during the peek part of the season ... and I say meals instead of people, because we don't count individuals. A lot of people come for breakfast and then come back for lunch."
However, Bagchi said its main source of food, restaurants, has dried up and they're in need of donations.
"The restaurants, I guess, just have become more efficient at the use of their supplies, which is good for them, so they don't have as much food to donate," she said.
They're asking for the public's help with food donations, cash to purchase food or even
gift cards to local supermarkets. The also seeking volunteers to assist with preparing and serving food.
The program also provides services and often invites professionals like immigration lawyers, tax preparers and even hair stylist.
The Sanctuary program will be serving meals at First United Methodist Church on Friday's for breakfast only and on Saturday's for breakfast and lunch. Those interested in volunteering are asked to contact Sandra Whitehill at 732-863-7395 or Ann Bagchi 201-303-6101.