Monday, November 23, 2009

Latino group, churches offer meals program

Latino group, churches offer meals program
By KIM PREDHAM • FREEHOLD BUREAU • November 20, 2009

FREEHOLD — The borough's hungry will have another place to turn to this winter.

Starting today, free breakfasts and lunches will be offered every Saturday through March by the Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey's Monmouth County chapter and a coalition of area religious organizations.

Meals will be served from 7 a.m. to noon. The first five Saturdays, meals will be provided at the First Presbyterian Church, 118 West Main St. The program will then move to the Reformed Church of Freehold at 67 West Main St., where it will operate until March 13.

A coat drive will be run in conjunction with the program. Organizers have also lined up a slate of speakers, including a local immigration lawyer and a H&R Block representative to discuss tax issues, said the program's co-chair, Ann Bagchi.

Many of the meal recipients are immigrants who may not know where to turn for help on these matters, Bagchi said.

"We're trying to bring the information to them," she said.

Now in its sixth year, the program got a boost this year with a $2,500 donation from the Graeme Preston Foundation for Life.

Contributions are still being sought, however, as the need for the program is expected to be acute this winter given the nation's economic troubles. Volunteers are also needed to staff the program.

Donations can be sent to the I Beseech Thee Community Development Corporation, the program's main funder, at: 133 Throckmorton Street, Freehold NJ 07728.

Anyone interested in volunteering can contact program co-chair Sandra Whitehill at (732) 863-7395.

The meal distribution, known as the sanctuary program, is not the only place area residents can go for a free meal this winter. St. Peter's Episcopal Church, at 33 Throckmorton St., provides lunches every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday throughout the year. Starting in December, lunches will also be offered on Tuesdays.

Kim Predham: (732) 308-7752 or

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