Hammonton Rotary check presentation
Pictured from left are Ed Muller, director of the St. Vincent de Paul Society Food Pantry, accepting $700 in donations from Rotarians Donald DeFiccio, Bill Donahue, Hugh LaMonaca, club President Joe Brown, and Frank Bartolone.

HAMMONTON – The Hammonton Rotary Club presented two donations to the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry Thursday, Nov. 3, to help brighten Thanksgiving for local families in need.

A donation of $500 will support the purchase of turkeys for Thanksgiving food baskets. The club also made a second donation of $200 in memory of Phyllis DiDonato, mother of Mayor Steve DiDonoto, who passed away Oct. 12.

The St. Vincent de Paul Society Food Pantry, which has operated for the past decade from the basement of St. Lucy Hall (the St. Joseph Convent) on French Street, supports about 300 to 350 families (800 to 1,000 people) each month, according to its director, Ed Muller.

The service is provided with the support of the Mary of Mt. Carmel Parish, donations from civic groups like the Hammonton Rotary Club and others, individual contributions, donations by local businesses plus state and federal sources.

In an effort to make the holiday season a little brighter for its clients, holiday food baskets are distributed at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. Thanksgiving baskets include a turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, vegetables, juice, cereal and dessert. Those food baskets will be distributed 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016.

In addition to food, the food pantry will distributing Christmas toys for children this year. There will be a giving tree established in the vestibule of St. Joseph’s Church for any member of the public that would like to contribute.

The food pantry always needs donations of food, money and volunteer time. While the need is great all year round, Muller said donations are especially important in the winter months, after the New Year, when the need is greatest and donations tend to slack off.

For those in need of food assistance, the food pantry is open from 2:30 to 4 p.m. and from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays. It’s closed Thanksgiving.

Donations may be made to the St. Vincent de Paul Society Food Pantry, c/o St. Mary of Mt. Carmel Parish, 226 French Street, Hammonton, NJ 08037.

To find out how you can help call food pantry director Ed Muller at 609 412 4604.

Rotary’s donation is part of the club’s ongoing support of the food pantry.

One first Thursday of the month, the club’s weekly meeting shifts to the food pantry where volunteers stock shelves, pack bags of food and help distribute it to the needy.

It’s also among the club’s most prominent community projects with hundreds of volunteer hours and thousands of dollars donated since 2008.