Annual Ocean City Board of Realtors food drive underway

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The Ocean City Food Cupboard accepts a donation from the Ocean City Board of Realtors after the board's 2013 food drive. The OCBOR has already started collecting for its 2014 food drive. The Ocean City Food Cupboard accepts a donation from the Ocean City Board of Realtors after the board's 2013 food drive. The OCBOR has already started collecting for its 2014 food drive.  OCEAN CITY — As they do each year, local real estate agents are stepping up to help fill the shelves of the Ocean City Ecumenical Food Cupboard, located at St. Peter’s United Methodist Church.

The Ocean City Board of Realtors is hosting their fourth annual winter food drive. The “Food is Love, Share Some Love” will collect food, monetary donations and ShopRite gift cards through Feb. 28. The project is one of the Ocean City Board of Realtors’ signature community outreach programs, according to Ocean City Board of Realtors Vice President Gloria Votta.   

“It’s a long winter, and it’s been so cold,” she said. “There are a lot of people in need.”

While local churches collect for the Food Cupboard each week, Votta said that a lot of people go to Florida for the winter and a lot of the parishioners are out of town.

“Church attendance is down, and that means less food,” she said.

A big food drive before Christmas keeps the Food Cupboard humming through the holidays, but by February, things get dicey, she said.

“That’s why we started this food drive three years ago,” she said.

“A lot of people have seasonal jobs, they’re not working and they won’t be again for a while, so we want to help them out,” Votta said. “This is our way of helping people get through a tough time in a tough winter.”

The Food Cupboard accepts donations through the year. Votta said that at this time, there are a lot of single people in need, along with families. Single people, she said, use a lot of single serving microwaveable meals, rather than heating an oven for one person.

The Food Cupboard is looking for microwaveable meals, canned meats, peanut butter and jelly, juice, pasta sauce and canned beans.

There is also a need for laundry detergent, which has to be liquid because that is what the local Laundromats use, dish detergent and paper towels.

“These are things we often take for granted,” Votta said, adding that for those in need, the items make a huge difference.   

Potential clients for the Food Cupboard are asked to go to the city’s social services office on the ground floor of the police station for evaluation. Once approved, they are given a three-day “emergency supply” of food and other items as needed to tide them over. The Food Cupboard works with families on an individual basis to make sure no one goes hungry.

Votta said she enjoys leading the charge for the food drive. As a seashore resort, Ocean City, she said, may seem to be a wealthy community, but there is another side to the story. Votta said that too many are struggling in an uncertain economy mixed with the bad weather.

“I’m totally blessed and I feel that no one in this country should go hungry,” she said. “I think a lot of people feel that way. It’s nice to be able to help. We’re a very generous community.”

Votta said her interest dates back to volunteering for the Community Christmas Dinner, held annually on Christmas Day at St. Peter’s.

“I used to come in and set up, and then a few years ago I came in and served,” she said. “I realized how many people are in need. I was really amazed. It made me want to do more to help, not just on Christmas Day, but throughout the year.”

Donations can be dropped off at the office of the Ocean City Board of Realtors, 405 22nd St. in Ocean City, or call the office at 609-399-0128 for pick-up service.


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