Volunteers to cook 1,000 Christmas meals for Ocean County’s needy

    A thousand Ocean County residents will enjoy a hot Christmas meal thanks to the efforts of a local relief center and generous culinary volunteers. 

    The People’s Pantry, a Toms River-based organization that provides food and a link to social services in Ocean County, is marshaling volunteers to cook the meals.

    Led by Chef Mike Jurusz of Chef Mike’s ABG in South Seaside Park and basketball coach Cliff Baker of The Baker League, the volunteers from local restaurants will prepare ham, turkey, vegetables, and mashed potatoes, according to Courtney Chibbaro of The People’s Pantry. 

    She says that the organization is seeking the public’s assistance to prep, package, and load the meals at Caffe Italia (2414 Route 37, Toms River) on Christmas Day from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. 

    In addition to the meals, The People’s Pantry will deliver toys to children. 

    “This will truly be a Christmas Miracle for many as they did not know where their family’s Christmas meal or Santa’s delivery would come from or come at all,” Chibbaro said.

    The relief center will be spreading Christmas cheer to such places as Holiday City in Berkeley, motels in Seaside Heights, Ocean Gate, and motels and low income areas along Route 37 in Toms River. 

    Anyone with questions should contact Chibbaro at courtney.chibbaro@gmail.com.

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