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Pro Bono Partnership Awards Keyport Ministerium Food Pantry Award
Founded in 1983 to provide food to needy families in the Northern Bayshore Area of Monmouth County, NJ, KMFP has increased its services to meet the needs of communitieswhere the economic downturn, numerous job reductions and other factors have taken a toll on families and senior citizens. Initially, the pantry provided food and services to small groups of families, through a consortium of nine churches that comprise the Ministerium. Today, the pantry provides services to more than 200 families each month.
In March 2012, KMFP contacted Pro Bono Partnership requesting assistance with a new facility since they were outgrowing their current space, two small rooms in a local church. Community Church of Keyport agreed to rent land for a new KMFP Community Center for $1 per year, but KMFP needed legal advice and oversight for the heavily regulated, highly technical bid and contracting process required for HUD-financed food pantry construction projects.
Steve Meetre, Arlene Richter and Ann Marie Clegg, volunteers from Wyndham Worldwide Corporation, and Lori J. Braender, Ellen Knarr and Veronica Gonzalez from Day Pitney, LLP joined together to assist with this project. The attorneys’ assistance was critical in supplying technical support and guidance in working with the Planning Board, obtaining necessary permits and waivers, preparing and executing a long-term lease with the Community Church of Keyport, preparing bid documents, providing guidelines to bidders, and following up with progress reports.
In July 2013, KMFP broke ground on its new facility. Construction is progressing and once the new facility is complete, KMFP will have significantly increased food storage and, thus, improved food distribution to the community. It will also be able to increase its operating hours to better accommodate working families.