WALL, NJ — Throughout the coronavirus crisis, the West Belmar Food Pantry has been welcoming countless members of the community who need something from its shelves — canned and paper goods, milk and juice, breakfast and bakery items, produce, and so much more.

In fact, its volunteers served 90 families with 227 children and adults in September and a record-setting total of 20 families recently visited the pantry during its two hours of operation. The pantry also has been providing food to the Belmar senior housing building on Eighth Avenue, where its 50 residents — seniors and individuals with disabilities — continue to keep their travel to a minimum due to the COVID-19 health emergency.

“We’ve seen a lot of new faces, and it’s a blessing that we can help so many people,” said longtime volunteer Dorothy Theilen. “They know that our doors are open for what they need … and we love to see their smiles.”  

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But while the pantry continues to receive donations of food and essential groceries from area churches, businesses and organizations, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with this growing need from the community.

As a result, volunteers hope to generate more support from the community to assist in replenishing its stock.

“We are in need of (food and monetary) donations to help us continue supplying the needs of those who come to us,” said volunteer Nancy Schreiber, adding that gift cards to ShopRite, Dollar Tree and Acme are also welcome so that items running low on the shelves can be purchased.

Donations can be dropped off at the pantry, located in the rear of the United Methodist Church at 1000 17th Avenue in West Belmar, during its regular hours of operation — from 10 am. to noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays. In addition, the church office is open to accept donations from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays.

An affiliate of Fulfill of Monmouth and Ocean, the pantry moved from its longtime location at the former First United Methodist Church at 503 Seventh Avenue in Belmar earlier this year.

Here’s a list of its most-needed items:

  • Peanut butter
  • Shelf-stable milk
  • Tuna fish
  • Canned pasta (like Chef Boyardee items)
  • Juice packs
  • Canned beans of all kinds
  • Soups of all kinds
  • Boxed macaroni and cheese
  • Pasta sauce
  • Granola bars
  • Pop-Tarts
  • Snacks
  • Toilet paper
  • Laundry detergent

During the current health crisis, visitors to the pantry are asked to follow safety and social distancing guidelines, which are displayed outside the church during times of operation.

 

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