Supporters hope new donation will help library rally from pandemic

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BELMAR — The Friends of the Belmar Public Library hope that a donation made by the owner of Sonny’s Grill could help kickstart new initiatives to improve the library, which recently reopened to the public.

On Friday David La Tempa, the owner of the restaurant located in Belmar Plaza, donated $250 to the library’s friends group, an organization established to raise funds to assist the library. Some of the funds raised, $114, were collected as tips by Mr. La Tempa when he provided free hot dogs at the opening of the Belmar Public Library earlier this month. The other $136 he donated out of his own pocket.

“I am the type of person where I try to do anything to help other people out,” Mr. La Tempa, who lives in Sayreville, said on Friday when he presented the check to members of the Friends of the Belmar Library at his restaurant. “Anything that I can do to help the community, I will go out of my way to do something like that. I have a business in Belmar and I will treat Belmar as if I live here.”

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Andrea Pecorelli and Maria Rondinaro accepted the donation on behalf of the Friends of the Belmar Public Library.

“We are so thankful to Dave from Sonny’s Grill, especially during this trying year. This is above and beyond and it shows you what a wonderful small town this is,” Ms. Pecorelli said.

Now that the pandemic is easing, groups like Friends of the Library and residents work to maintain the same level of community events that the library once had.
The library used to have a space in the Belmar United Methodist Church building, formerly located on Seventh Avenue, where it would hold large-scale events and cultural celebrations, such as for Cinco de Mayo and Chinese New Year. In 2019, the church decided to sell the building to a developer and it has since been demolished.

“We want community events. We want quality of life. We want what we had back. Belmar was on the cutting edge,” Ms. Pecorelli said. Some of the goals of the Friends of the Belmar Public Library, she said, are to bring in some Spanish language and other books that the library might need, as well as events.

“Our philosophy would be community – what can we do for the children and what can we do for the seniors,” she added.

“I have had a lot of residents ask about yoga and the makerspace, which was something that people were so taken by and they want back,” Ms. Rondinaro said.
Currently, Ms. Rondinaro and Ms. Pecorelli are the only members of the Friends of the Library.

Those interested in being part of the group may call the library for more information or email apecorelli52@yahoo.com.

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