Remember the 1995 movie While You Were Sleeping? Well, let us tell you about our own blockbuster hit called While We are Seeking! Meet the cast...
As we continue to diligently seek a larger facility for the South Jersey Dream Center, we have actually increased our reach in the local community! That's right, when one door closed, multiple doors opened.
Meet Jeff! Every Tuesday morning we continue to pick up donations at the Mantua Target. Close to 1,000 pounds of meat, dairy, produce, paper goods and non-perishable items are loaded into the van each week and off we go.
The first stop is the Greater Woodbury Cooperative Ministries, a fellow Food Bank of South Jersey agency located on East Barber Avenue. Meet Kathy Stackhouse (below right), who leads this outreach made up of 10 local ministries, serving guests on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30- 11:30am. They are a hard working crew of volunteers that have become good friends, wonderful partners, and share our passion for touching lives in a simple way.
Our next stop is the Mid-Atlantic States Career and Education Center on Delaware Avenue in Woodbury. Meet Wisdom and Mr. Mosely, who lead an ambitious group of men and women seeking to re-enter the workforce. At the center they offer several certification programs that meet job requirements in the region, including forklift training and Microsoft Office software training. Over 4,000 of their clients have been placed into jobs, 1300 of which have been parolees. We share the same mission!...to develop people to reach their full potential. While they're working to find work, it's a joy to send them home with a little extra food until that job comes through. What gracious, polite and courteous men and women that greet us each time and help unload, amazing.
Our next stop may be one of a several places in the Woodbury area and the surrounding communities, depending on how much food we have to distribute.
Meet Yolanda Hamilton (above), Director of the Center for Family Services Mother Child Residence on Broad Street in Woodbury. Mother Child provides temporary housing for women age 18 to 35 who are currently homeless and either pregnant or parenting one to three children, age eight and under. During their approximate three-month stay, the women receive educational classes, counseling, on-site case management, and assistance with setting and reaching goals toward self-sufficiency. Kids gotta eat! Moms gotta eat! This is a perfect match for us!
Another stop is the Woodbury Family Success Center, also on Delaware Avenue at the Carriage House. Meet Yvonne Yanney Allennu (above), the site Director and kind-hearted leader who works with a host of other social services to ensure their guests with access to proper healthcare and a wide range of opportunities toward self-sufficiency.
Meet Noryln Garlic (above left), the Site Coordinator of the Gloucester County Nutrition "Serv-a-Tray" Program in Thorofare. She and her staff serve a hot meal every afternoon to local seniors, including our new friend Jim (above right) with Michelle. They absolutely love when we roll up to their front door with bread, produce, and especially Target candy that comes in "handy" for Bingo prizes.
Meet Ed Schultes (left) of AC Schultes in Woodbury. He is a faithful volunteer that picks up loaf bread in Howell, PA each month, as well as Albert's Organics on occasion in Logan Township. Lorraine Battle is another awesome volunteer that picks up Panera Bread every other week in Deptford.
As you can tell, we are definitely NOT sleeping! We are expanding while we're seeking! Though we are truly eager to find a place of our own, we wouldn't trade these transitional times for anything! It's been an absolute pleasure meeting our co-laborers in the local area that share our passion for helping families in need. Stay tuned as our story continues to unfold. The best is yet to come!