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Lacey Township Food Bank

AROUND  OCEAN COUNTY INTERVIEW WITH LAURA  CAROCCIA

Around Ocean County is a weekly one hour interview program featuring people and topics in the news at the Jersey Shore. Hosted by veteran Ocean County air personality Tripp Rogers, Around Ocean County takes you behind the headlines and asks the questions you want answered by newsmakers. Sundays from 7-8am on Magic 100.1.

As the former Co-chairman of the Lacey Food Bank Laura eloquently represents us in her other capacity as Chairman of Community Affairs\Publicity  Listen now to her mid summer report on the status of the food bank and  how you can help.

Along with Co-Chairman Ed  Weisbrot, head of he Social Service committee,  Co-Chairman Harold (Pete) Peters also serves as the head of the Volunteer committee.

 

Laura Caroccia Interview

MAGIC 101.1

The Lacey Food Bank  program is operated by volunteers and depends entirely on food and monetary donations from the public and the business community. With the exception of filing fees, telephone, equipment & minimal office supplies, over 90% of your  donation goes to buy food and food coupons for the clients of the food bank. The server for this  web site (Tripod) and maintenance of the website is donated. The food bank van was donated by Excelon and they donate money every January to cover insurance and maintenance.

Effective as of January 17, 2002, the State of NJ registered us as a tax exempt non -profit corporation "Lacey Food Bank, Inc". Along with this we also were awarded tax exempt status with the IRS as provided for under Chapter 501(3) (c) of the tax code. This status was upgraded to a permanent basis as of April, 2007

Lacey Food Bank, Inc. has  trustees:  Cynthia Pieja, the proprietress of Cynthia Pieja, CPA;  Attorney Arthur Stein;  Ronald Tholen, local businessman (Lacey Marine) ;  Pastor Terry Chapman, Forked River Presbyterian Church, Reverend Linda Applegate, Forked River United Methodist Church, Guy Burnett, (former Chairman of the Lacey Food Bank). 
 
Ms. Pieja is also the registered agent of the food bank, maintains the checking account, which requires two signatures, and files all necessary forms with the State of NJ and the IRS. She serves us as a committed volunteer.

The Township of Lacey receives all donations made out to Lacey Food Bank Inc., acknowledges them to the donors, then turns them over to Ms. Pieja for deposit in the food bank checking acount. 
She then pays all bills and provides the storesmaster with a revolving petty cash fund for purchase of food.
 
We are often asked why this program is not run by Lacey Township and why we do not serve those who live in other towns. The township discharges it's obligation to needy Lacey residents  by paying per family a negotiated amount which is handled by the office of Ocean County Social Services. The food bank, as noted , is a volunteer driven effort to help keep food on the tables of the needy by giving them a safety package at the end of the month when money & food  runs short.
 
The township  provides the program with space and the maintenance of that space, in the old MUA building on the corner of Station Dr. and Parker St.  where the food is stored and the monthly distributions are held. The Administrator's office also  provides us with the oversight service by receiving donations and sending acknowledgements. 
 
So we only serve clients who live within the township which is funding these services via our general tax base, minimal as it might be. Emergency requests however, are met at all times.

Eligibility is based on income and varies according to the size of the family. Clients must be Lacey residents.  PAAD card holders, WIC enrollees and food stamp recipients are automatically eligible as well as low income families.   In order to participate, the client must go to the administrator's office, fill out an application and provide proof of residence and financial need.

The program currently serves  * 200+ needy families with 500 + people within those families. Many are elderly, living on minimal incomes, the rest are low-income families with children, or those who are disabled. 
 
Our distribution days are the third Thursday & Friday of each month. Each family receives two pre-packed bags of pantry food, a bag of refrigerated food (hotdogs, margarine, chicken, cheese, etc) and a  $10.00 food certificate for ShopRite. They are then  given two bags to "shop" at our take me tables which offer non mainstream foodstuffs, condiments, cleaning supplies and detergents, and paper goods not packed for the regular distribution. 
 
Larger size packages are given to big families with "your choice" items offered. This enables them to get through the rest of the month with some food on the table.

Food is also available on an emergency basis for those in critical need at any time of the month, with those recipients calling the administrator's office  693-1100 ext. 2239 or  the food bank office (242-2848) 
 
Food is collected during food drives conducted in conjunction with participating groups or organizations throughout the year. The Rotary Club for example, provides us with holiday dinner baskets including turkeys at Thanksgiving. An integral part of our food gathering is from the participation of the elementary and high schools. We could not survive with out them. We also have an ongoing food collection via the Food Bank pullout drawers,  placed at the inside entrance to ShopRite.

We are aligned with the Monmouth-Ocean Food Bank and  purchase pantry food and government surplus at a low -cost or no- cost basis  from them.


*This count varies widely , with the highest numbers being in cold weather when seasonal employment ends, heating costs kick in, and illnesses occur with medication taking over the household budgets.
 
IRS  form 990 is available for inspection upon request.

NEWSFLASH Thanks to the initiative of Cynthia Pieja, LFB's CPA and trustee, we are able to offer PayPal\Visa or Mastercard as a way for contributors to make a safe internet contribution.

 We also accept PayPal as a way for contributors to make a safe internet contribution.