A heartwarming December for The HOPE Center: Spreading joy through community support
Jersey Desk/10251585

The local nonprofit recently hosted its Star Light, Star Bright event and Holiday Meal Giveaway to neighbors in need.

TOMS RIVER, N.J. - JerseyDesk -- The holiday season brought an abundance of warmth and generosity to The HOPE Center in Toms River as they extended a helping hand to community members in need during its annual Star Light, Star Bright event and Christmas Meal Giveaway.

The Star Light, Star Bright event was held on December 15th and 85 families, inclusive of 225 children (plus a waitlist!), received gifts thanks to the generosity of the local community.

"Despite economic challenges, the outpouring of support from our friends – individuals, businesses, faith-based supporters, and community partners – was truly overwhelming," said Amy VanBezooijen of The HOPE Center. "This year, our Star Light, Star Bright event ensured a joyous Christmas for all who walked through our doors."

The HOPE Center would also like to thank Carl's Fencing, Decking & Home Improvements, First United Methodist Church of Toms River, The Presbyterian Church of Toms River, the Ocean County Board of Commissioners, the Ocean County Department of Corrections, Cedar Grove United Methodist Church, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, the Wave Makers of OceanFirst Bank as well as the many individuals and families in our community that support us on an ongoing basis.

More on Jersey Desk
"Each year, these organizations and businesses donate toys and other gifts to benefit our event and their compassion and Christmas spirit shines through in their generosity," said VanBezooijen.

A special thank you to David Keith and his team at DRJ Catering and Operation BBQ Relief for providing each family with a delicious, full cooked roast chicken dinner.

Thank you also to all the volunteers who helped sort, set up, and shop with our clients.  We are very grateful to the incredible volunteers from the Kiwanis Club of Greater Toms River and Design 446.

The nonprofit also hosted a Christmas Meal Giveaway on December 20th. The holiday meal kits included a ham in addition to canned sweet potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, vegetables, instant mashed potatoes, canned fruit and a dessert.

"We've been seeing between 10 and 15 new families each day," said VanBezooijen. "Everyone who comes in has the opportunity to register for a holiday meal. We schedule their pickup times and provide them with a bag containing all the essentials. They leave with all of the fixings to make a wonderful holiday meal. We target between 100 and 125 families each time we do this event, but if someone walks in the door and have a free turkey from ShopRite or something, we can continue to add to that list."

The HOPE Center opened its doors in February 2008 to provide services to those individuals in need of assistance. Today, the HOPE Center's staff and over 110 volunteers provide resources, advocacy and coordinating services with partner agencies. Volunteers assist clients in navigating the social service programs within the county to help resolve their issues of housing, utilities and other urgent needs.

More on Jersey Desk
The HOPE Center's mission is to serve clients with dignity and compassion and strives to empower each person to achieve his or her greatest level of self-sufficiency. The organization provides food through its full-service, client-choice food pantry and community garden, shelter assistance, utility assistance and transportation to those in need. Special events and various drives are held throughout the year.

The HOPE Center is located at 253 Chestnut Street in Toms River. To learn more or for volunteer opportunities, visit houseofhopeocean.org. (http://houseofhopeocean.org/)

About The HOPE Center

The HOPE Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization initiated by the Clergy Association of Greater Toms River. Within a place of hope and faith, the mission of The HOPE Center is to serve families in crisis with dignity and compassion, providing for their basic human needs, and striving to empower each person to achieve his or her greatest level of self-sufficiency. Current hours are Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9am to 3pm. To reach The HOPE Center, call 732-341-4447. After 4pm, for emergency services, please call 211.

Bri Veltre, Design 446

Source: The HOPE Center
Filed Under: Non-profit

Show All News | Report Violation


Latest on Jersey Desk