Since its inception in 2004, PFLAG Jersey Shore has funded its services and managed its events through the kindness, generosity, and hard work of our friends and benefactors throughout the community. Recognizing how organizations like ours rely on this type of support to meet our mission, PFLAG Jersey Shore decided it was our turn to lend a hand to another nonprofit which also works to meet the needs of the community. The Center in Asbury Park is one such organization. The Center in AP provides a variety of support services to those living with HIV/AIDS and their caregivers. They do this by offering:
- 25 permanent residences to those without a home, emergency placements for homeless individuals, rental and utility subsidies
- Nutrition programs including emergency food pantry, meals-to-go, a daily lunch program, and monthly Sunday dinners
- Referral services to other providers
- Transportation services to medical appointments
- Educational opportunities
PFLAG Jersey Shore connected with The Center late 2017 and arranged to collect items for the hygiene kits they keep on hand to provide to those individuals living on the streets. Collections came from PFLAG Jersey Shore members and attendees along with some individuals who were kind enough to collect items from their place of work.
On Saturday, February 24th 19 volunteers from PFLAG and their friends met at The Center and were able to do several tasks to support their mission. The volunteers were eager to work and within one hour of arriving were asking for additional jobs to complete. We had items being packed in bags, food being sorted, meals being cooked, and the food pantry arranged. After three hours of volunteering, we were able to pack over 60 hygiene kits, prepare more than 30 meals-to-go, arrange and stock the food pantry, and unpack and sort an entire room of overstock food for the pantry.
The Center’s employees and volunteers are meeting a crucial need for those living with HIV/AIDS and people who are homeless. Patsy, The Center’s Director of Community Engagement, told our volunteers how Father Bob started The Center and highlighted a personal success story of someone who was able to gain temporary housing, appropriate medical care, job placement, and financial stability through their connection with The Center.
William Place, President of PFLAG Jersey Shore, ended the volunteer program with a presentation of $250.00 from PFLAG Jersey Shore to be used in support of the good work of The Center. William noted how each volunteer was struck by an immense sense of pride and connectedness with the work they performed and declared this event as our First Annual Give-Back Day choosing The Center as the benefactor of our second, third, and many more years to come!