EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — The Arc of Atlantic County’s annual Holiday Partners Program is seeking community donors to make Thanksgiving and the holidays a little brighter for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities in Atlantic County.

The Arc has teamed up with community partners to host a Thanksgiving Food Drive through Nov. 18.

• Members of Tilton Fitness, along with the staff and the public are encouraged to donate nonperishable food items to the Tilton Fitness locations at 3022 Hingston Ave., Egg Harbor Township, or 323 S. Pitney Road, Galloway Township.

• The Arc Makes Cents, Too Thrift Store is accepting donations of nonperishable food items at its new location in the English Creek Shopping Center, next to Ollie’s.

• Employees of Golden Nugget Atlantic City are collecting nonperishable items.

Items most needed are canned vegetables, fruits, boxed mashed potatoes, stuffing, spices, broth, vegetable oil, boxed muffin and dessert mix, peanut butter, dried beans, rice or legumes, low-sugar/whole grain cereals, healthy snacks, ready-to-eat meals (soup, stew, chili, pasta, tuna and chicken) and other items used to prepare meals. Please, no items in glass containers or items that are past their expiration date.

"People with intellectual and developmental disabilities typically do not have immediate access to transportation to obtain food donations through traditional resources,” said Rebecca Reed, director of clinical services at The Arc of Atlantic County.

“Our Thanksgiving Food Drive provides resources that alleviate much of that stress so individuals and families can have a complete meal during the Thanksgiving holiday,” Reed said.

The Arc of Atlantic County is also launching its Adopt-A-Family Campaign. Members of the community can help make the holidays a little brighter for people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities by adopting an individual or family and purchasing gifts from a list of items provided. Community members could also purchase gift cards or unwrapped gifts, which will be distributed to individuals living with intellectual and developmental disabilities who do not have the financial resources to purchase any extra necessities beyond their housing and food.

Families caring for a loved one with developmental disabilities in their home can experience a great deal of stress throughout the year, but financial hardships even further complicate their lives during the holidays. As Holiday Partners, donors can help alleviate some of that stress.

To Adopt-A-Family, contact Reed at 609-485-0800, ext. 201, or email rreed@thearcatlantic.org. You may also drop off nonperishable food items and new, unwrapped toys at The Arc’s main offices, 6550 Delilah Road, Suite 101, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Volunteers are also needed to help wrap and deliver gifts. More information is available on The Arc’s website, TheArcAtlantic.org.

For more information, contact Mary Ruley Moyer, director of development and community outreach at 609-485-0800, ext. 135, or by email mmoyer@thearcatlantic.org.

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