Manna at the Shore board member Nina Soifer (center right) presents a check to Cookie Till of A Meaningful Purpose at Reed’s Farm in EHT. Members of the board and farm volunteers are pictured in background.

NORTHFIELD – Beth Israel Congregation’s social action program, Manna at the Shore, has donated to five area nonprofits to help combat food insecurity in Atlantic County. Recipients of the grants include A Meaningful Purpose, Grace Place, JFS Food Pantry, Sister Jean’s Kitchen, and the South Jersey AIDS Alliance.

To keep its volunteers safe during the pandemic, Manna was unable to prepare meals. However, the virus hasn’t stopped Manna from fulfilling its mission to feed those in need. A portion of funds historically used to prepare meals has been donated to agencies that are doing the essential work of food distribution.

A Meaningful Purpose is a local farm that serves as an animal rescue, a platform for sustainable, organic farming, and an employer for individuals with special needs. The nonprofit was founded by Margate restaurateur Cookie Till of Steve and Cookie’s By The Bay, along with partners Lenny Varvaro and Beth Senay, at Reed’s Farm in Egg Harbor Township. Its mission is rooted firmly on the foundation of an inclusive society where everyone is respected, valued and has choices to lead a holistic and dignified life.

MANNA Board Member Tonia Howard (center) presents a check to JFS Board President Johanna Perskie and RSVP Coordinator Mary DeMarco.

The JFS Food Pantry, also in Margate, offers hearty meal options to individuals and families who are feeling the effects of the current recession, homebound seniors on fixed incomes, adults with disabilities, young families with low incomes, and others facing temporary crises. The food pantry serves more than 2,500 individuals and families per year.

Sister Jean’s Kitchen on Atlantic Avenue in Atlantic City is a joint venture food pantry in cooperation with the Community FoodBank of New Jersey. Sister Jean’s provides a wide variety of staples for those in need.

John Scotland, executive director of Friends of Jean Webster, receives the check from MANNA at Sister Jean’s Food Pantry in Atlantic City.

The South Jersey AIDS Alliance has partnered with MANNA for 26 years. MANNA prepares, packages and freezes meals and SJAA delivers the meals to those who are living with HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening illnesses. SJAA’s programs and services span 1,300 square miles in Cumberland, Cape May and Atlantic counties and serve around 2,500 people annually.

Over its 30-year history, Grace Place food pantry at Grace Lutheran Church in Somers Point has provided over 500,000 meals and food baskets to families in need within Somers Point, Linwood and Northfield. Grace Place is run by dedicated volunteers from local churches. Jim Cordery oversees the volunteer effort.

Categories: Downbeach

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.