The upcoming holiday season is a joyous time of year to celebrate with friends and family. Make the most out of the “Season of Giving” by finding ways to give back to the community, volunteer and help those less fortunate. Various organizations in our area collect donations and serve food to those who need it most and they can always use an extra helping hand. Give back this season and help make someone else’s season a bit brighter. 

GIVING BACK

Fulfill, Monmouth and Ocean, 3300 Route 66, Neptune, strives to fight hunger many different ways through providing food, culinary training, kids’ feeding programs, mobile pantries, enrollment assistance, affordable health care and tax refund assistance and more. Fulfill believes their volunteers are the heart of the organization and make a difference every day in all of their programs. 

Volunteer opportunities include organizing food drives, packing and sorting donations, helping out at mobile pantries and with their feeding program partners and so much more. 

For more information, call 732-918-2600. 

Soul Kitchen, the JBJ Soul Foundation community restaurant with locations in Red Bank and Toms River, invites all to join their volunteers by giving back to the community and feeding your soul. According to its site, volunteers are essential to the Soul Kitchen mission and are the life blood of what they do. To date, the Soul Kitchen has served 105,893 meals. 

For more information on the JBJ Soul Kitchen and how to volunteer, visit jbjsoulkitchen.org. 

Lunch Break, 121 Drs. James Parker Blvd., Red Bank, offers help for today and hope for tomorrow. The organization’s mission statement reads, “As a caring community, Lunch Break freely provides food, clothing, life skills and fellowship to those in need in Monmouth County and beyond.” 

Lunch Break ensures that their doors and hearts are always open and there is never a fee for a service needed, whether it’s a meal, clothing or more. In addition to the meals served Monday through Saturday, Lunch Break will also serve Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas brunch. 

Volunteer opportunities are also available at Lunch Break. For more information, visit lunchbreak.org. 

FREE HOLIDAY PROGRAMS

The Church of Epiphany, 615 Thiele Road, Brick, serves a free Thanksgiving meal complete with all of the trimmings with a local delivery to the elderly, disabled or homebound. Preparations are underway for this year’s Thanksgiving dinner and the parish hopes to feed 1,200 for the holiday. 

For more information, call 732-458-0220. 

The Salvation Army Ocean County Citadel, 1738 Route 37 East, Toms River, offers several Ocean County programs. Hearty Helpings serves meals weekly. During Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Salvation Army aids thousands of New Jersey residents with toys, food, clothing, visitations and other needs during the holidays. Sponsor a family that is in need through their Adopt-A-Family program, which connects impoverished families with individuals or groups to provide for their tangible needs at Christmas. 

For more information, call 732-270-8393. 

The Lacey United Methodist Church, 203 Lacey Road, Forked River, offers a Thanksgiving Day Dinner at 1 p.m. The church invites you to join them for a delightful and free holiday meal. Volunteer opportunities are available throughout the day. 

For more information, call 609-693-5222. 

St. Gregory’s Pantry, 804 Bay Ave., Point Pleasant Beach, assists the community in countless ways including Thanksgiving food distribution and a Toy Room for parents and guardians to shop in at Christmas time. There are plenty of ways to help this time of year such as volunteering your time, donating food, donating gifts for children and more. 

For more information, call 732-892-8105. 

LENDING A HELPING HAND

Spend this holiday season putting others first by giving back and getting involved to make someone else’s season brighter. Each and every action helps. Whether you donate food to a holiday distribution, volunteer to serve food during a holiday meal, donate funds or needed items to a worthy cause or join an organization to help others, you will make a substantial impact on someone else’s life. Lend a helping hand to those who need it most this season.