St. Luke’s Church located at 353 Broadway, Long Branch is not just for Sunday worship. Every Tuesday and Friday they are open from 4-5pm to anyone who would like to enjoy a hot, homemade meal cooked by Chef Dan. This Tuesday, diners had a choice of roasted chicken, pork marsala with sides of peas & carrots and mac n’ cheese. All is made possible by donations and volunteers in the kitchen. The food was being served by volunteers Grayson and Janine from Long Branch High School and Thomas from Frank Antonidies School, in West Long Branch.
“We want everyone to know they are welcome,” said Avery Grant, who is one of the biggest proponents of St. Luke events. “Chef Dan is an amazing cook. And when you’re done here don’t forget to go upstairs to look at our thrift store.”
St. Luke’s Thrift Store, run by Carol Cook, is open on Saturdays, 12-3pm and Tuesdays 2-5pm. “We have all kinds of items here from trinkets to clothing,” Carol said. “And everything is very inexpensive!” Carol was being helped by volunteer Catherine David.
Across the hall from the thrift shop is St. Luke’s Food Pantry with Janet Massaro as its coordinator. The pantry is open every other Friday, 2-5pm.
“During the week the Arc of Monmouth comes to the pantry with a crew of about five people, who stock the shelves so families can go in on Friday and shop, making their own selections,” Massaro said.
The Girl Scouts of Monmouth County are very generous with donations. Every year at cookie time they give their leftover cookies to the pantry to hand out. “I think the last donation we got about 40 cases of Girl Scout cookies so it’s it’s a great thing.” They also have Christmas candies they bring to the pantry around the holidays. Our clients here love when we get stuff that we don’t usually have like cookies and candy,” Massaro said.
The Baked Bear in Pier Village has also been a great supporter of the food pantry bringing cookies when they have them and sometimes ice cream. “They are very supportive and try to give back to the local community they do business in which is great,” Janet said.
The pantry also receives generous donations from the Greater Long Branch Rotary Club. “They give us money every couple of months, they’ve been wonderful.”
St. Luke’s is always looking for volunteers. If you would like to donate your time or goods call the church office at 732 222-1341.