Middletown Lions Club creates Harvest of HOPE community outreach

MIDDLETOWN – COVID-19 has put a strain on community resources, especially charitable social support programs and food pantries that provide daily sustenance, emergency assistance and essential items to those in need.

Many families are now in dire straits due to the pandemic, trying to find help and to navigate through a maze of requirements and programs, according to a press release from the Middletown Lions Club.

“It is very scary and disconcerting to these people, many of whom never needed
help before,” said Beverly Bova Scarano, president of the Lions Club.

“There is so much food insecurity in the area, as well as people who are homeless. It is shocking. COVID-19 has plunged the community into unprecedented times and has also put a terrible strain on the food pantries and charitable programs who are just trying to keep up with demand they have never seen before,” Scarano said.

The Lions Club has created the Harvest of HOPE (Helping Other People Excel) community outreach initiative and is seeking assistance from the community, according to the press release.

The first phase of the initiative is a fall food drive. The following items are most needed: peanut butter, jelly, canned vegetables, soups, tuna, shelf stable milk, juices, cereal, macaroni and cheese, pasta, tomato sauce, healthy snacks, cake mixes.

Food items may be dropped off at any time at either of two locations: Investors Savings Bank Foyer, 192 Kings Highway, Middletown, or Middletown Reformed Church Education Building, 121 Kings Highway, Middletown.

The food drive will be in effect and collection bins will be available until Oct. 30.

The Lions Club will gather and distribute the donations to food pantries and other assistance programs, including the Calico Cat Emergency Food Pantry, the Keyport Ministerium Food Pantry, Emmanuel Cancer Center (childhood cancer services), and the Backpack Crew, according to the press release.

For more information, contact Beverly Bova Scarano at 908-896-1682.

The second phase of the initiative targets homeless populations in the area
and will be operational from Oct. 1 through Nov. 30.

Items needed to help homeless people through the pandemic and the winter months include tents, sleeping bags, new blankets, propane heaters, propane refills, gift
cards (Walmart or BJs), one-pound propane tanks, propane camping stoves, battery operated lights and flashlights, batteries (AA, AAA, C, D), paper towels, toilet paper, water and trash bags, according to the press release.

Donations may be delivered to the Middletown Reformed Church, 121 Kings Highway, Middletown. Leave donations outside the church basement in the alcove.

The second phase of the outreach initiative works with Destiny’s Bridge, a nonprofit organization which helps those with no access to traditional housing. Monetary donations may be mailed directly to Destiny’s Bridge, P.O. Box 692, Lakewood, NJ 08701, or via
PayPal at Destinysbridgefoundation@gmail.com

The Middletown Lions Club was chartered in 1946 and is an all-volunteer service organization consisting of men and women who help the community through charitable service and fundraising initiatives and programs, according to the press release.