- by Carolyne Volpe Curley / Carolyne@WestEssexNOW.com
Currently, about 84 families make use of local assistance on a monthly basis. For Thanksgiving, the food pantry is expecting to make up over 120 baskets for those who are not able to provide the traditional holiday dinner for their families.
In the past seven years, Vero Amici has donated over 400 turkeys to Caldwell's food pantry and has donated $35,000 to help keep the food bank stocked throughout the year.
"You do not realize how many people cannot afford a turkey dinner on Thanksgiving right here in the West Essex community," Garamella commented. "We're not talking inner cities, we're talking right here in our own backyards. When we got her the turkeys, it was then that she told us
how fast the food comes in and how fast it goes out and
how many families here really can't afford to put food on their table."
Yesterday, despite the many turkey donations the food pantry had already received, Burak again notified Vero Amici that many more were needed.
"Yesterday, Maria Burak called to say that the pantry
was desperately in need of turkeys
to distribute to local families within the community
for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday," explained Garamella.
"Once Maria called and told us about the turkey shortage, we acted right away."
"If someone's lights get turned off, for instance,
we're able to help them," Burak explained.
Or if someone can't pay their rent and are about to be evicted.
It makes you feel good that you are able to do
different things for the people of the town when they really need it."
"We are here to make the community aware that
there are people and families in our area that are less fortunate
and in need of assistance," stated Garamella.
"They could be your neighbor or someone who sits next to you at church.
We are asking that the West Essex community please help
by donating food or money to the Local Assistance Board.”
Donations to the Local Assistance Board and Caldwell Food Pantry may be mailed or delivered to the following address:
Local Assistance Board
14 Park Avenue
Caldwell, NJ 07006
Vero Amici for Charity was established in December, 2005, by local men from the West Essex community. The mission of Vero Amici, which translates to "True Friends," is to raise money through charitable contributions that are dedicated for children, citizens with disabilities, senior citizens and under-privileged youths who need medical or financial assistance and to promote local awareness in our communities. The values of Vero Amici come from the individuals that make up their association. These individuals are compassionate, committed and most importantly, caring.
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- St. Aloysius Turkey Collection, 8am to 6pm, Monday, Nov. 24; 219 Bloomfield Avenue, Caldwell
- Food Pantry Donations Welcome at 4th Annual Notre Dame Youth Ministry Sleepout for the Homeless, 8pm to 8am, Saturday, Nov. 22; 359 Central Avenue, North Caldwell