February 10, 2022, Asbury Park, NJ – Community leaders, elected officials, and Mercy Center staff, celebrated the ribbon cutting and grand opening of Mercy Center’s newly expanded food pantry for our neighbors in need in the Greater Asbury Park Area who have yet to recover from the pandemic.

“This is Black History Month. It is appropriate that Mercy Center publicly recognizes the inequities in our community for all our neighbors and improves the experience for those we serve. It is our mission to empower, enrich, and educate, and our newly expanded pantry does just that with an improved experience for our neighbors in need. We provide emergency services to anyone who walks through the pantry door and social services next door to help them improve their overall situation,” said Kim Guadagno, Executive Director, Mercy Center.

“The increased capacity in the pantry, complete with new refrigerators, shelving and ramp access, help to provide equality for families who are food insecure by providing them with an expanded variety of foods, including more meats and dairy. We are grateful to all who helped make these enhancements possible,” added Justice Mary Catherine Cuff, Board Vice Chair, Mercy Center.

After the ribbon cutting, neighborhood families “shopped” for groceries in the pantry and were given special Valentine’s Day bags filled with chocolates.

Sincere appreciation goes to Fulfill Food Bank for the donation of the new refrigerators, shelves, and carts with CARES Act funding. Special thanks also to our volunteers, including: the Knights of Columbus Council #15964 for painting the pantry, to the Christian Brothers Academy Crew Team for assisting with moving, packing, and storage, and to St. Mark’s That Man is You group for assembling the carts.

About Mercy Center

Mercy Center, based in Asbury Park, provides programs and services that empower, enrich, and educate. The nonprofit, founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1986, helps people facing socio-economic challenges realize their full potential, with a special emphasis on women and children. Our goal is to break the cycle of poverty with kindness, compassion, and understanding.

Mercy Center offers Emergency Services, including food at our pantry which is open all day, every weekday. We provide clothing and utilities assistance to help sustain families facing financial difficulties. Our Family Resource Center is a “one-stop-shop” for resources, referrals, advocacy, counseling, and behavior modification services. The Family Resource Center offers group, virtual, and individual counseling to help families maintain healthier lives and relationships.

Mercy Center’s Sisters Academy of New Jersey is a middle school for girls grades five through eight. The Academy focuses on girls from surrounding communities from economically challenged families. It provides an education of excellence, life skills, and the necessary tools to become confident, self-sufficient, and successful in competitive high schools. In fact, 100% of our students graduate from high school.

To learn more about Mercy Center or to donate, visit www.mercycenternj.org. Follow Mercy Center on Facebook @MercyCenterAP and Instagram @MercyCenterNJ.

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