BELMAR, NJ — For years, the Belmar Food Pantry/Clothes Closet has served the community from its location at 503 Seventh Avenue. But that is about to change as the former First United Methodist Church building, which now houses the Belmar Community Center/Library Annex, will be closing its doors for good.
While the Belmar Food Pantry’s last day was December 23 so that its stock of nonperishable foods can be moved to the West Belmar United Methodist Church at 1000 17th Street, the Clothes Closet's last day is today, December 30, from 10 a.m. to noon.
“We just don’t have a home. It’s sad,” said lead volunteer Dorothy Theilen of Belmar, referring to the Clothes Closet, where donations of clothing, toys, stuffed animals and household items are available to anyone at no charge.
For the past several weeks, Theilen and her team have been faced with the daunting task of thinning its shelves and racks of merchandise as best they can. While they have made contributions to other charitable groups that also do not place price tags on their merchandise, they are putting out a call to the local community to check out their remaining inventory.
“Come see us before we close,” Theilen said. “We are here for anyone who needs us. And we want to make sure everything we have is shared.”
The food pantry plans to reopen on Tuesday, January 7 from 10 a.m. to noon, setting in motion a regular weekly schedule of Tuesday and Thursday during that two-hour period.
It is among 300 affiliated pantries of Fulfill of Monmouth and Ocean — a designation that ensures bags of groceries assembled for distribution meet the Neptune-based food bank’s nutritional standards.
As for the Belmar-based volunteers, all plan on staying aboard in West Belmar, including those who have been stationed at the clothes closet. “Our team of angels is staying together. We’ll just have more people helping in the food pantry,” said Theilen, preferring to see the glass half full.
With Belmar's lease with United Methodists on the former church property ending today, efforts have been under way to find new homes for Belmar Public Library and senior activities, as well as for the Belmar Community Makerspace.
While a new location and class schedule will be announced at the beginning of the new year for library and senior activities. borough officials said it may take several months to relocate the makerspace, which had occupied most of the second floor of the 503 Seventh Avenue location.
Open in October 2018 as a project of the Belmar Public Library, the makerspace has served as an innovative hub uniquely designed for creators, builders, innovators and artists. The state-of-the-art facility includes 3D printers, computers, sewing machines, video and photography equipment, basic workshop and electronic supplies, a large flat-screen television for workshop instruction and presentations, and free Wi-Fi and internet access.
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