St. Gregory’s Pantry volunteers set many tables for Thanksgiving

Generations of volunteers came together at St. Mary’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church Sunday, helping to move heavy cartons and stock dozens of tables with food, in an effort to make the Thanksgiving holiday a little less stressful for those in need. (MARK R. SULLIVAN/THE OCEAN STAR)

POINT PLEASANT BEACH — Generations of volunteers came together at St. Gregory’s Pantry last Sunday to help sort and stock dozens of tables with groceries and the staples for a holiday meal, to make sure those in need would be able to have a joyful Thanksgiving holiday.

The pantry, based at St. Mary’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church on Bay Avenue, is an ecumenical, community-based, nonprofit emergency food bank operating on a year-round basis to provide support to families in need in the greater Point Pleasant area.

Prior to Nov. 25 when the groceries are distributed, community members including longtime St. Gregory’s volunteers, parents and children, high schoolers, Girl Scout troops and many more, spent hours making sure items including canned vegetables, cranberry sauce, stuffing and much more were ready for those who would come to shop Monday.

“This community is just so giving,” Sandy MacIntyre, long time pantry coordinator, said Nov. 24. “St. Gregory’s is so lucky because everybody supports us, they are just so giving with so much love and caring, it is just the best. It really is very lucky that we have this kind of full pantry.

“We have always said the Sunday before [distribution] is when we need the strength. We have so many volunteers that are regular volunteers, but for the most part, we are not the youngest bunch, so we need the strength and the youth, which is just so wonderful to see them here today. 

“The Point Beach High School students came the other day and they unloaded the truck with the cases of food and they come after school the Friday before distribution and then the Point Boro High School kids will come [Monday] and Tuesday and they help carry groceries out to cars and on Tuesday they do our deliveries for us for our clients who can’t necessarily get out … so we could not do it without the kids.”

The pantry distributes more than 250 family-sized holiday dinners each at Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, with referrals obtained from the county, area churches and local schools and hospitals.

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