Hammonton First provides food for Pleasantville church's aid center
PLEASANTVILLE — The Apostolic Tabernacle Church has so much clothing at its donation center at the church on Washington Avenue and Devins Lane that on Saturday it will put it all outside the church hall and let the public take as much as they want.
“We hadn’t asked for clothing, but people sent it to help,” Pastor Wayne Gilliss said of the center set up after Hurricane Sandy.
What they can’t get enough of is food, though a delivery on Thursday from the Hammonton First group guarantees that there will be boxes of food and cleaning supplies for those who come on Saturday.
“We always need food,” Gilliss said. “We actually ran out and drove up to Hammonton to pick some up so we would have enough on Tuesday.”
The church opens twice a week, on Tuesday evenings and all day Saturday, to distribute food. On Tuesday, almost a month after the storm, more than 50 people registered for food packages.
Gilliss said most of them are residents who had their work hours cut back and are struggling to make ends meet.
Jim Donio of Hammonton First said their effort was an extension of their usual community service projects.
“Our mayor (Steve DiDonato ) suggested it,” Donio said. “Since we were spared the worst of the storm we felt it was important for us to give thanks and give back to towns that needed help.”
While residents responded, so did outside groups, with deliveries coming in from as far away as Maryland and South Carolina.
Volunteers at the church separated the items by type and prepared them for Saturday. Clothes were sorted by size and gender, with bags of them filling a storeroom.
Baby food and larger size 4 and 5 diapers are always in demand, Gilliss said, as are canned goods and other food staples.
“We need the things that people use every day and go through quickly,” he said.
The next food and clothing distribution is set for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the church. Anyone in need is welcome.
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