The FoodBank welcomed a new feeding program, the Barnegat Food Pantry, extending the Ocean County feeding programs to 134 partners. The pantry is run by Director Libby Hammond and
Co-Director Laura Traphagen, who both began by volunteering with the pantry and never left.
Barnegat Food Pantry began as a closet in a recreation hall in 1991, and in 2007 it was combined with a thrift shop that was in a separate location. Currently, the thrift shop funds the food pantry, which serves between 100-150 local families per month. Those who need the pantry can come once a month and receive a bag of non-perishable food, as well as bread and Wawa sandwiches, which typically lasts about a week. “Many of our shoppers are low income families, veterans and seniors who use the pantry to extend their food allowance to get through the month,” said co-director Libby. “The decrease in SNAP benefits last year meant an upswing in the number of people we are serving. I had people coming here who received only $16 in food stamps. What can that really buy when you have to eat for a month? Now with help from the FoodBank, I can supply fresh bread, dairy and more produce, which I’m very excited about,” she said. “This place is very personal for me.”
Many civic and community leaders are directly involved with the pantry, including the Rotary of Barnegat with holiday help, as well as the local Masonic Lodge, veterans, officials and retailers. Pictured here is local ACME Assistant Manager Jorge Dinis, as well as Mayor John J. Novak, Deputy Mayor Al Bille, and Township Committee member Alfonso Cirulli, along with FoodBank and Pantry representatives.
One shopper Kay, who lives nearby in Senior housing is one of the few people in her complex who drives, so she brings back fresh bread to those who can’t make the trip to the pantry but are still in need. “Everyone here is so friendly and lovely and we don’t know what we would do without them,” she said. Her sentiments were repeated by many who were shopping.
The Barnegat Food Pantry and Thrift Shop is located at 360A North Main Street and open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays starting at 10:00 AM. They can be reached at 609-698-7174.