HIGHLANDS, NJ - The Rev. Joseph J Donnelly Council of the Knights of Columbus tripled their original goal and collected almost 2,000 items in a two day drive to collect food and other necessary items for the food pantries at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church and the Atlantic Highlands Food Pantry.
More than a dozen Knights as well as members of their families participated in the event, which included setting up vehicles at the two churches in the parish, OLPH and St. Agnes Church in Atlantic Highlands and making the deliveries to the pantries.
The original goal was to collect 500 pounds, said Grand Knight David Convery, “but parishioners were generous and outgoing in their gift giving, and brought items to the vehicles as they came to Mass. This is the first such drive we have had since Superstorm Sandy, when everyone was also very generous.”
Last weekend’s collections totaled 1,937 items weighing a total of 1615 pounds, he said. It included a vast variety of canned goods, as well as diapers, laundry detergent, toothbrushes, deodorant, other items of personal care, and pet food.
In addition, the Foodtown Supermarket in Atlantic Highlands donated $150 for meat products, and others made an Amazon gift card donation and other cash donations.
“We could not have been so successful without the generosity of the parishioners and the cooperation and efforts of the pastor, the Rev. Jarlath Quinn, the Highlands Business Partnership, all the Knights and two towns filled with so much community support,” Convery said. Convery said the Lions Club members came out in their brightly colored shirts and were also hardworking and generous in supporting the pantry effort.
The huge amount of collections is especially remarkable, he said, since Covid regulations limited advertising the event in advance. The Council decided on having the event because of the unprecedented times, and felt it also filled the need for the community to come together to help others and to relieve some stress to those most impacted.
Because of the success, and the needs of so many families in the area, a second drive is planned for the spring.
Persons wishing to make any monetary donations to the food pantries can send donations to the Rev. Joseph Donnelly Council, St. Agnes Church,, Center Avenue, Atlantic Highlands, NJ 07716 and note donations are to go to the food pantry project.