Closet Shop Looking for Community to Help Clear Its Shelves by December 30

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 it may seem like business as usual for the volunteers at both operations, they are in the process of packing up the pantry for a move to the West Belmar United Methodist Church in Wall, but preparing to permanently shutter the closet shop.

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“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.

With a closing date of Monday, December 30, 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 Clothes Closet will be open from 10 a.m. to noon on four more days: December 19, December 23, December 26 and December 30.

Meanwhile, the Belmar Food Pantry’s last day is Monday, December 23, so that its stock of nonperishable foods can be moved to the West Belmar United Methodist Church at 1000 17th Street.

The 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.

Belmar Community Center/Library Annex is Midst of Its Move

With Belmar's lease on the former church property currently occupied by the Belmar Community Center/Library Annex ending in December, efforts are currently under way to find new homes for Belmar Public Library and senior activities, as well as for the Belmar Community Makerspace.

While the last day for library programs and senior activities at 503 Seventh Avenue is Friday, December 20, a new location and class schedule will be announced at the beginning of the new year. On the other hand, 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.

READ MORE: United Methodists Giving Belmar Time to Move Community Center/Library Annex from Former Church Building


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