PBA Food Drive aims to raise aid for the holidays

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Kevin Jones [inside of the truck] and Peter Speakman load groceries into a truck as the Police Benevolent Association Local 50, which represents several police departments in the area, including Belmar, held its annual holiday food drive at the Stop and Shop in Neptune City, Nov. 7. (MARK R. SULLIVAN/THE COAST STAR)

BELMAR— Police Benevolent Association Local 50 held its annual Holiday Food Drive Saturday, helping collect nonperishable goods to feed local families in need this holiday season.

At 8 a.m. Nov. 7., officers had already set up headquarters outside the Stop and Shop in Neptune City, collecting bags upon bags of food donations until 1 p.m.

“This is the eighth year we have done it and we do this to support foodbanks in the area and Fulfill,” Sgt. Michael Vollbrecht, of Neptune City Police Department, said. “We want to fill our trailer and any extras we have is even better, but every year we fill that trailer. Last year that trailer was full and it was at least three bags stacked. 

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“Usually in five hours, even four hours, we are able to fill the trailer and we actually increased it [the drive] one extra hour this year. In one extra hour how many extra people can we feed, so why not do it?”

“It couldn’t be any more important this year because of everything going on and I look forward to it every year just because of the positive reaction of the people,” Sgt. Vollbrecht added. “We have actually seen people cry and they are not going to be the recipients of getting the food but they’re working at the foodbank and they’re crying.”

Donations ranging from frozen turkeys and hams, frozen meals, canned vegetables, paper goods, macaroni and cheese, oatmeal, diapers, jelly, peanut butter, cereal, soup, juice, pasta, dried foods and toiletries were among the donations received Saturday from the community, who happily took the flyers being handed out by officers to add some of the goods to their shopping list for the day. 

“We get a majority of our food probably between 9:30 [a.m.] and 12 o’clock and we’re taking cash donations as well and then we’ll take that cash and go in to buy stuff,” Sgt. Vollbrecht said. “We couldn’t do this without Stop and Shop and their partnership in this. They make sure everything is stocked up so it is a win-win for everybody.

“We get everything from whole turkeys to boxes of rice and diapers for kids. We will take anything and everything. It is actually something in the last two or three years we have seen a lot of foodbanks want the reusable bags because the state is going away from plastic bags and all that stuff.”

Along with Belmar, PBA Local 50 also includes police departments in Avon-By-The-Sea, Bradley Beach, Neptune City, Sea Girt, Spring Lake and Spring Lake Heights.

Donations are delivered to Fulfill, previously known as the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, and to food pantries located in Bradley Beach and Belmar.

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