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Causeway CARes delivers 1, 2 punch to fight hunger and homelessness
Causeway's 5th Annual 5K, presented by Causeway Family of Dealerships and Causeway CARes, raises $60,000.
By: Causeway CARes
"We carefully selected Fulfill and Family Promise of Southern Ocean County as this year's 5K beneficiaries because both organizations are on a mission to battle hunger and homelessness in Ocean County, which is something that Causeway cares deeply about," said Wintrode.
Fulfill has been a 5K beneficiary since the race's inception five years ago. The nonprofit's mission is to alleviate hunger and build food security in Monmouth and Ocean Counties and make sure that all people at all times have access to enough nutritious food to maintain an active and healthy life.
This year, Family Promise of Southern Ocean County was also selected as a 5K beneficiary. Its mission is to partner with communities to guide homeless children and their families toward achieving sustainable independence.
Joe Stroffolino, Race Director/Director of Advertising and Marketing, Causeway Cars/Causeway CARes, is a board member for both nonprofits. "I felt a strong obligation to drastically increase our sponsor count," he said. "We successfully went from 47 sponsors in 2021 in support of Fulfill to 80 sponsors by adding Family Promise of Southern Ocean County as our second beneficiary this year."
"What I love about partnering these two organizations together is it really reflects a reality of the people that we serve, which is that they don't experience housing issues in isolation, and they don't experience food insecurity in isolation," said Triada Stampas, President and CEO of Fulfill.
There is a common saying at Fulfill – rent eats first.
"Food insecurity is the canary in the coal mine," Stampas said. "Families are on the brink of distress because households tend to guard their resources to protect the roof over their head and then start to make sacrifices where they can – and that often is food."
Together, Fulfill and Family Promise of Southern Ocean County take a collective approach when it comes to fighting hunger and homelessness.
"This approach is based on lived experience,"
The numbers show the impact. In fact, every dollar donated to Fulfill provides three meals to those in need.
"We are the food bank that serves Ocean County and Monmouth County by servicing a network of 300 organizations – mostly food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and other distribution sites," Stampas added.
Fulfill is emerging out of a COVID response and headed straight into an inflation response.
"When we look at the statistics, the number of people who have been accessing our pantry network went up 60 percent between January and June of this year," said Stampas. "Typically, we see a dip in the summer because of seasonal employment. This summer, we did not see that dip. This really demonstrates the impact that inflation has on the households that we serve. Food is one of the sacrifices that people make when budgets get pinched."
Family Promise of Southern Ocean County is one of Fulfill's community partners.
"This funding that Causeway CARes generously provided to Family Promise of Southern Ocean County will not only continue to help us to continue to provide food, clothing and toiletries, it will also help us to provide prevention services for families," said Elizabeth Golla, Executive Director of Family Promise of Southern Ocean County.
Family Promise of Southern Ocean Counties steps in where applicable to help meet families in the midst of the trials they face in order to assist them with paying back rent, back mortgage and utilities. "We also help fix vehicles so that individuals can get to work and that will hopefully prevent them from being homeless in the first place," Golla added.
Since Fulfill is able to provide food security, Family Promise of Southern Ocean County is able to utilize its funding to help individuals and families before homelessness occurs.
In 2021, Family Promise of Southern Ocean County was able to assist over 1,500 individuals. About 60 percent of that was prevention. "We recently started expanding into all of Ocean County because the need is so high," said Golla. "In 2022, we have already hit those numbers and the year is not over yet."
So far in 2022, the nonprofit has provided 3,000 nights of shelter through motels and local churches. In 2021, it assisted with 1,898 bed nights.
Today, Family Promise of Southern Ocean County is in need for funding and partners to support local families by providing shelter. "We have a waiting list of 20 families that are in desperate need of shelters," Golla said.
Many of Fulfill's distribution centers and food pantries – including Family Promise of Southern Ocean County – are serving more people than ever before.
"We anticipate that this is going to be a long, sustained response," Stampas said. "It is the support from community partners like Causeway CARes that helps us sustain our mission and provide the much-needed resources to the community to fight food insecurity."
To learn more or to donate to Fulfill or Family Promise of Southern Ocean County, please visit https://fulfillnj.org/
About Causeway CARes
Causeway CARes' mission is to make a direct and profound impact in and around Ocean County in the areas of education, food security and quality of life. Founded in 2004 and funded by the Wintrode Family Foundation, Inc., Causeway CARes strives to make the community a better place to live, grow and thrive. To learn more, visit CausewayCARes.com.