Blessing Bags Will Be Distributed To Those Most In Need As Part Of The Lions-Created Harvest of H.O.P.E. Community Outreach Initiative
H.O.P.E. = Helping Other People Excel
Middletown, N.J. – The Middletown Lions Club is continuing to help those in need by working with The Blessing Bag Brigade to create ‘Blessing Bags’ for the homeless and other disadvantaged populations in the area. A ‘Blessing Bag’ contains basic necessities that most people take for granted but are not always available to the homeless. The Lions are asking the community to help by donating items like men’s socks, small bottles of water, travel size toothpaste & body lotion, deodorant, razors, toothbrushes, and snack and breakfast bars. The goal is to make and distribute 250 bags, according to Middletown Lions President Beverly Bova Scarano, who expressed shock and dismay at the fact that there are so many homeless individuals in the area combined with the strain on food pantries & other social service programs. “It is shocking. COVID-19 has plunged the community into unprecedented times and has also put a terrible strain on the food pantries and charitable programs who are just trying to keep up with demand they have never seen before,” stated Bova Scarano.
Members of the public interested in donating items for the ‘Blessing Bags’ may drop them at the Middletown Reformed Church, 121 Kings Highway, Middletown, in the red container at the Education Building at the top of the hill. In addition, Investors Savings Bank is also handling item drop-off at 192 Kings Highway, Middletown. Donations will be accepted until April 26. For more information on the project or to make arrangements for large donations or monetary contributions, contact Beverly Bova Scarano at (908) 896-1682.
The Middletown Lions Club created the Harvest of H.O.P.E. Community Outreach Initiative in the Fall of 2020 – in this case H.O.P.E. stands for Helping Other People Excel – and received tremendous support from the community in the first two phases of the initiative. The first phase was a food collection drive which targeted and supported severely depleted food pantries and social service programs in the area, providing staples like canned goods, juices, healthy snacks, shelf stable milk, tomato sauce, pasta and other necessities. The Calico Cat Emergency Food Pantry, Keyport Ministerium Food Pantry, Emmanuel Cancer Center, and The Backpack Crew were recipients of the collection. The second phase was conducted to directly help homeless populations in the area survive the winter through the collection of tents, sleeping bags, blankets, propane heaters & grills, batteries, paper products, propane camping stoves and other necessities. Destiny’s Bridge, a non-profit organization which helps those with no access to traditional housing, was the direct beneficiary of the winter survival drive.
Chartered in 1946 under Lions International, the Middletown Lions Club is an all-volunteer service organization consisting of men and women who help the community through various charitable service and fundraising initiatives and programs. The club assists individuals and families in need both locally and globally through their unique 501C3 foundation, The Middletown Lions Club Foundation. Lions the world over are known as ‘Knights of the Blind’ and were challenged directly by Helen Keller to dedicate themselves to the cause of blindness. The Middletown Lions Club underwrites a charitable community initiative that provides free eye exams, eyeglasses and hearing aids for those who cannot afford them and who meet specific financial criteria. In addition, the all-volunteer vision screening team, the ‘Knights of Sight,’ provide free vision screenings for elementary school children in local school districts. Members also volunteer directly at the Bayshore Lunch Program in Keyport, N.J. and support local food pantries, emergency feeding programs, charitable organizations, and social support initiatives in the area. More information is available on the club website, www.mlions.org.
Photos: The Middletown Township Lions Club LOGO and The Blessing Bag Brigade LOGO