The donation was made possible through Causeway Family of Dealerships and Causeway CARes.
MANAHAWKIN, NJ – It has been eight months since Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish’s cargo van went out of service. Since then, volunteers at the Lakewood church have been utilizing their personal vehicles to pick up and transport food to serve community members in need of food security.
As a partner food pantry of Fulfill, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish was able to apply for a Capacity Grant that would provide the necessary funds to purchase a new van for Saint Vincent de Paul Food Pantry. Fulfill recently received five applications for Capacity Grants. After reviewing the applications with the Agency Partner Committee (APC), Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish was identified as a good candidate for the grant.
Joe Stroffolino, as a Fufill Board Member, APC member and Director of Advertising and Marketing for Causeway Family of Dealerships and Causeway CARes, intervened with a cargo van that could be donated to Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish through the CauseWheels Vehicle Donation Program. This would allow Fulfill to use the Capacity Grant funds elsewhere to continue to fight hunger in Monmouth and Ocean counties.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish received the CauseWheels vehicle donation on October 3.
Wayne Boylan, President of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society at Our Lady of Guadalupe, said Saint Vincent de Paul Food Pantry has issued about $80,000 over the last 12 months to cover utility bills, food and shelter assistance to those in need. The food pantry typically serves up to 1,200 individuals per year.
“The inflating cost of food is bringing more and more families to our pantry for assistance,” said Boylan.
In terms of demographics, the pantry typically sees some seniors, but mostly individuals in their 30s and 40s, as well as single mothers.
“Whatever the need, we are here to address it,” said Boylan. “Everything we do is based on relationship building and staying true to our core values of spirituality, service and friendship. We want people to see the face of Christ in the work that we do.”
The food pantry is comprised of 30 volunteers. “We have been blessed with a great team that worked right through the pandemic,” said Divine Word Missionary Father Guilherme Andrino, the Pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe. “They stock the shelves and hand out food. They do whatever is necessary to help the community stay nourished.”
The new van will enable Our Lady of Guadalupe to continue its mission and feed even more individuals and families. “The cargo van is able to hold two skids of food,” Boylan added.
In addition to Fulfill’s food deliveries on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month, the van will allow the parish to go to B.E.A.T. Center in Toms River for additional food pickups as necessary.
“We also have a great partnership with Target on Route 70 in Lakewood,” Boylan noted. “We go there twice a week to pick up donated food. Thanks to the CauseWheels Vehicle Donation Program, this cargo van will give us the ability to pick up even more food to give back to the community. We couldn’t be more grateful.”
Saint Vincent de Paul Food Pantry is open on Thursdays and Saturdays from 9:30am to 12:30pm. The pantry is located in the trailers in the lower parking lot of Saint Mary of the Lake Church (43 Madison Avenue, Lakewood). To learn more about volunteer opportunities or to donate food or clothing, please call Wayne Boylan at 732-534-9375.
About The CauseWheels Vehicle Donation
The CauseWheels Vehicle Donation Program exists to help its neighbors and positively impact Ocean County. The program started in 2019 after The Causeway Family of Dealerships had two requests for vehicle donations to local non-profit organizations. Both requests were graciously accommodated. This prompted the idea to follow up Causeway’s 2019’s 50th Anniversary celebration with the new CauseWheels Vehicle Donation Program.
About Causeway CARes
Causeway CARes’ mission is to make a direct and profound impact in and around Ocean County in the areas of education, food security and quality of life. Founded in 2004 and funded by the Wintrode Family Foundation, Inc., Causeway CARes strives to make the community a better place to live grow and thrive. To learn more, visit CausewayCARes.com.
About Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe is a parish that has merged into one multi-cultural parish that celebrates and ministers to the diversity of cultures as it continues to strive to be united as one, holy Catholic Church. The Parish Community of Our Lady of Guadalupe includes Saint Mary of the Lake Church, Saint Anthony Claret Church and Holy Family Church. To learn more, visit https://www.olglakewood.org.