The All-Volunteer AACC Food Pantry Recognized for Excellent Service to the Bayshore
MIDDLETOWN, NJ - The AACC Food Pantry in Atlantic Highlands may be the best-kept secret of all aid agencies in the Bayshore, but it is certainly no secret to the 120+ families who rely on its mission to feed the hungry each week. Its origin some fifteen years ago came as an outgrowth of the realization that folks were struggling to put food on the table by clergy of the Presbyterian and Methodist Churches of Atlantic Highlands. Since then, the organization has broadened its scope to include much of the surrounding Bayshore communities, including Highlands, Atlantic Highlands, Navesink, Leonardo, Port Monmouth and Belford. Over time, other churches in the community joined to lend assistance, and that’s how the Area Association of Community Churches, or AACC Food Pantry, has been able to serve its guests with distinction over the years.
In a departure from other food pantries connected to governmental agencies, the AACC Food Pantry operates on a totally volunteer basis--donations of shelf foods from area churches, donation of time from a volunteer staff, and charitable fund-raising by local churches and other community groups. Because of fewer bureaucratic ties, the pantry is able to offer assistance to their guests without proof of residency or other background information that keeps people away from the help they require. Instead, they are registered into the program by caring volunteers who greet them with a smile and who offer them two full brown paper bags full of food each week. Unlike in other area pantries, the volunteers do not pre-package bags of groceries for their guests but allow them to choose from among the stocked shelf items in the pantry. The good people who volunteer their time in so many different ways recognize the important mission of the pantry to help their neighbors in need, and dedicated to ensure its mission into the future.