Things have been busy at the little white house next to Aldersgate United Methodist Church—too busy.
“We fed 400 families two weeks before Thanksgiving, and gave out 200 turkeys,” said Paul Roder, coordinator at the Aldersgate Crisis Room.
The Aldersgate Crisis Room and the house next door have been more than a little busy over the last several weeks. With needy families stopping by for food and to buy clothes, toys and household items; the volunteers at each are not only exhausted, but worried. Volunteers at both spots say that even though they’ve been providing for a record number of families, there appears to be no end in sight. The little white house is planning on providing new toys to 177 children registered with the Crisis Room next week. Last year the list contained 150 names. Parents of those children also are given hats, mittens, gloves and a stocking stuffer.
“It’s been building since the summer. It’s just built up,” said Roder. “It’s a sign of the times, there are a lot of people that need help and it goes up during the holidays.”
The Crisis Room is open from 1 to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays and is open to any Middlesex County resident in need. Those who come by can get groceries, shop at the second hand clothing room, and, if they show up at the right time and on the right day, meat or baked goods.
The house next door is open Tuesdays and Fridays from 1 to 3 p.m. and sells clothes, toys, movies, household goods, and a lot more, including seasonal Christmas decorations. On Friday, the store had a special “sale” and was open at 8 a.m. When it was open days before Thanksgiving, volunteers and shoppers could barely move the place was so packed with shoppers
“We’ve been mobbed all day,” volunteer Trudi McKeeby said Friday. “It’s been a steady stream.”
Volunteer Diane Plumser said the shop provides people with a place closeby that sells affordable, second-hand items that almost everyone needs. In addition, the prices are lower than anywhere else.
“It’s an opportunity for people who can’t afford the mall to come shop and get some things,” she said.
Next week, the shop will be hold a one-gift “shopping” spree for children in need. Parents registered with the Crisis Room will come to the church and pick one new gift that they can give their child.
If you want to make a donation of a new gift, bring it to the shop between 1 and 3 p.m. Tuesday, or call Plumser at 732-718-2895.
If you want to donate food to the Crisis Room, bring donations off during regular business hours. The Crisis room needs turkeys and chickens and side dishes to be used for a holiday meal, which will be given before the December holidays. It also needs peanut butter, jelly, spaghetti sauce, diapers, baby food, dried and powdered milk, Enfamil, Similac and other non-perishable foods.
To make a donation to the shop, call or bring them to the store during it’s regular business hours. Food and clothing can be dropped off at the facility, 568 Ryders Lane. To make a monetary donations, makes checks out to the church and send them to 568 Ryders Lane, East Brunswick, N.J. 08816.
"We have more than almost ever before," said Roder. "Despite what they're telking us about the conomy, we don't see it here."