Volunteers Bring Food to Those in Need

Asbury Park Dinner Table


Julie Andreola, founder of Asbury Park Dinner Table spoke at the recent Zoom meeting about the charity organization’s work helping to feed those in need while at the same time keeping many restaurant workers employed.

Julie said the organization was founded along with co chair Kathy Kelly, owner of Paranormal in Asbury Park, Joe Grillo and Allison Kolarik at the onset of the Covid-19 crisis.

With businesses mandated to close and many losing jobs they created a model that would allow for restaurants to continue operating and restaurant workers to remain employed.

The group received donations and purchased food which restaurants workers then prepared at the Asbury Lanes Commercial kitchen.

The food is distributed at seven sites in the city including the Second Baptist Church, The Boys and Girls Club, St. Stephens Church and Asbury Park Housing Authority residential homes.

The various locations contact Asbury Park Dinner Table to let them know how many meals they need and  meals are brought to distribution sites every day by volunteers and distributed.

Julie said that volunteer drivers are needed from 4:15 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. to pick up the meals and drop them off at the various locations.

Julie said Pastor Semaj Vanzant of the Second Baptist Church approached her about parishioners being out of work and the need for food for families.

The founders of Asbury Park Dinner Table quickly worked to obtain a 501(c)3, because Julie said it would make getting donations easier.

She also said they have corporate support from iStar Developers and State Farm Insurance with the help of Rotarian Brenda Skinner.

Since they began the operation March 15, 32,000 meals have been distributed and $200,000 raised.

Fundraising began on social media sites, which prompted Brenda to reach out to Julie and offer assistance which Julie called an “incredible show of unity.”

In closing Julie said the group is still in need of volunteer drivers, donations of wholesale food and hand sanitizer.