Recently, residents from the Seabrook Retirement Community in Tinton Falls sorted through more than 800 pounds of new and almost-new children’s clothing and shoes for distribution to families in need in the local community. The sneakers, sandals, dresses, shirts, shorts, jeans, t-shirts, sweatshirts, and jackets were organized by size and gender and picked up by volunteers from the non-profit group Bridges at the Shore. The consignment shop New2YouKids provided the clothing free of charge to the non-profit group.
Six years ago, Seabrook residents Beverly Hausker and Bobbi Ostar launched the resident group “Seabrook for Bridges,” which is dedicated to helping Bridges at the Shore fulfill its mission of providing assistance to people in need living in Monmouth County. The group of approximately 18 members has made hundreds of sandwiches and bag lunches, purchased back-to-school supplies, as well as collected holiday gifts for children. In addition, the members donate new books to families as well as other items, such as jackets, books, pajamas, scarf sets, and Christmas stockings filled with toys and candy.
“Our group is grateful that we are in a position to have the time to help families in need and, hopefully, make their lives a little easier,” said Mrs. Hausker.
“This partnership with Seabrook is extremely important,” said Bridges at the Shore director Kathy Logan. “Anytime I call them, they are willing to help.” Ms. Logan also praised another group vital in ensuring that the Bridges volunteers’ recent run was a success. They are members of the Keyport Senior Center, whose members sorted more than 20 bags of children’s clothing and many boxes of toiletries. “Without the help of the Keyport seniors and the Seabrook residents, we could not have been ready for the June run,” said Ms. Logan.
She also noted that members of the Keyport Kiwanis Club have provided 100 food bags of cereal, microwave pasta, and snacks for kids – and that they continue to do this year round.
Ms. Logan said that for the Bridges’ August run, volunteers will be collecting backpacks and school supplies. Items needed include backpacks, pencils, colored pencils, markers, pens, three-ring binders, composition paper, spiral notebooks, rulers, erasers, glue sticks, pencil cases, crayons, children’s scissors, index cards, and construction paper. “Please consider asking family, friends, co-workers, club members, team members, etc., if they could help in this effort,” she suggested. “Monetary donations would also be helpful, and we will shop for the supplies.”
Checks should be made payable to “HCC–Bridges” and sent to Kathy Logan, 8 Stagecoach Drive, Holmdel, NJ 07733. All donations are needed by August 8.
“Last August,” said Ms. Logan, “we provided about 350 filled backpacks to needy children. One mother told me how thankful she was, saying, ‘All my girls want is to be like all the other kids on the first day of school, and I could not have done this without your help.’”
Nearly every month of the year for over two decades, Bridges volunteers have provided to homeless and hurting individuals much-needed food, clothing, and blankets – but perhaps more importantly, they provide to them a smile, a large dose of heartfelt compassion, a sympathetic ear, kind words of empathy and encouragement, and a caring hug.
Donated clothing can be dropped off at any time in the shed marked “Bridges” behind the Holmdel Community Church. That’s where the process for distributing these items to the needy begins. The donations of clothing, toiletries, blankets, and other necessities are stored in the shed at the edge of the church parking lot and then, the Thursday night before the Friday delivery of those items, the donated clothes are sorted at the church. The sorting usually begins at 6:00 p.m. and community service hours are given for youth groups. Then, the following night, Bridges volunteers, in a caravan of cars and vans, hand-deliver those items to individuals who need them most around Red Bank, Keyport, and Freehold.
Bridges volunteers also bring brown bag lunches to the homeless. They include a sandwich (no condiments), a drink (no glass bottles), a piece of fruit and a snack (cookies, chips, pretzels, etc.), and a note of encouragement (no names or personal information). Lunches can be brought to the William R. Satz School on the morning of the delivery run or dropped off at the Holmdel Community Church at 40 Main Street (Route 520) between 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. that same day.
The next Bridges run will take place on Friday, August 19, with the clothes sorting to take place the previous night.