What's Happening at The Branches

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The Branches Center is active daily on Facebook posting needs, thanks, news, events and fundraisers.

Good News

NOURISHING NEIGHBORS SUMMER MEALS PROGRAM

Branches has been awarded a grant titled “Nourishing Neighbors Summer Meals Program.” We are very grateful to Albertsons/Acme for making it possible for us to serve families in our area that may need some extra help with food during the summer when schools are not in session.

Branches will be stationed in the parking lot at Pet Smart in Rio Grande from 10-12 on Mondays and at The MLK Center in Whitesboro on Wednesdays from 10-12.

We will also be supplying food to Mitnick and Memorial Schools in Lower Twp. for pick up on Mondays and Thursdays from 10-12. We are supplementing the already existing outstanding program in Lower.

We are beyond excited to embark on this new venture. However, we have one very big problem. At the present time we are transporting food in vehicles owned by our volunteers. We would very much like to use our grant money to purchase a used cargo van. Unfortunately, these vans are in short supply, because of COVID 19.

If you, or anyone you know has a used cargo van that might be available for purchase, we would love to hear from you.

Please contact Branches at: 609-886-5091, or by email at: TheBranchesCenter@gmail.com.

Many, many thanks to Albertsons/Acme! We are blessed by your community minded spirit.

Middle Matters Award to The Branches

Middle Township officials acknowledged both the residents who were lost to COVID and the community members who courageously stepped up as essential workers and volunteers.
 

The Branches received a Middle Matters Award honoring the dedication of Sandra Lockhart and Terri Mascione, and their amazing team of volunteers to serving our neighbors in need this past year during the pandemic.
 

The event was held at Ockie Wisting Recreation Complex, Rio Grande on Saturday, March 20th.
 

The news article printed in The Herald can be accessed here.

March 26 2020 Sandra Lockhart and Terri
00:00 / 07:38

Radio Interview with Mark Hunter of Coastal Broadcasting for their segment, Homeland Heroes.

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Congratulations to The Branches and Thank you to The Impact Club of Cape May County for choosing The Branches to be a recipient of Event 15 in August 9, 2020 

Presentation by Sandra Lockhart and Terri Mascione to The Impact Club August 6, 2020

If you are in need of food, or know someone who is, please call Branches at 609-886-5091. It has come to our attention that we are not on the list of food banks for the county. We are operating as a food bank at the present time. We are open Mon., Wed. and Fri. from 9-1. You can stop by to pick up a box of food, or leave a message and we will bring it to you if you don't have transportation. We are here to serve the community at this very difficult time. Please be in touch!

https://www.capemaycountyherald.com/…/article_87981928-9a18…

This link is to the article that appeared on the front page of The Herald on May 19. It explores the plight of the homeless during the pandemic. Thank you Bill Barlow for writing such an informative article.

The Branches Center of Rio Grande Published by Theresa Mascione ·

Consider being a part of this great organization. A Voice for the Homeless! This group of volunteers started our Emergency Fund. This fund enables us to provide housing, prescriptions, bus tickets, plane tickets, ID's and many other services for those less fortunate.
WE NEED YOUR HELP!!! PROTECT THE MOST VULNERABLE!

I just came from a meeting of A VOICE FOR THE HOMELESS. It was clear, after reviewing some of the needs, we need help. Your help.

We are advocates for the homeless. Their needs must be revealed now to our County' leadership and the voters in our County

The needs: mental health support, adequate temporary housing, distribution of the Homelessness Trust Fund money, overcoming obstacles to social services.

Required: research county and township budgets, research public vagrancy laws, letter writing, educating ourselves about bail reform, attending meetings as observers; attending our once monthly meeting for support and idea sharing.

WHEN: Second Thursday of month, 10 :00 am. We meet via Zoom these days.

IF INTERESTED: Send email to me at hnblair@msn.com.

The Branches has joined AmazonSmile.org

If you plan to make a purchase at Amazon, please shop at smile.amazon.com.

Same products, same prices, same services as the Amazon you know but Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases to The Branches. 

Thank you!

The staff and volunteers of The Branches wishes everyone a Happy, Healthy New Year. May 2021 bring healing and peace to our world.

We were blessed beyond measure in 2020 with a generous community that partnered with us to serve the homeless and marginalized of Cape May County. We have always tried to thank individuals and organizations that give to Branches. However, so many donated in so many ways during the month of December, that it became very difficult for us to note the donations that made it possible for us to provide Christmas gifts to 65+ children and food to countless numbers of folks who requested assistance. To each of you who gave from yours hearts, please know how very much we appreciate the loving spirit with which you gave. We could not have done what we did without you.

As we begin a new year, we would like to share some information about Branches that you may not know. Founded by St. Mary’s Church in Stone Harbor many years ago, Branches began as “Coffee and Conversation,” open two days a week. It was always our hope that it would grow to the point where it would require partnership with other churches and organizations in order to address the needs of the underserved.
 

While 2020 was a devastating year for so many, Branches grew and realized our dream of working with other churches and organizations. We are deeply grateful for the partnerships that make it possible to serve those most in need.
 

Branches is now a 501c3, a non-profit organization. However, we remain an outreach of St. Mary’s Church, known as “The Little Church with a Big Heart.” St. Mary’s has a wonderful new priest, Mother Allison Burns-LaGreca, who is fully supportive of our mission.
 

While Branches is non-denominational and all are welcome, we are blessed to be an outreach of many other churches. If we tried to name them all, surely one or more would be left out. However, we do need to mention Our Lady of the Angels Church in Cape May Court House. Their very own angel Joann Kelly runs our Mobile Ministry Program. This ministry serves families living in local motels, with special attention given to the children.

Before COVID, 20+ volunteers worked at Branches. COVID forced us to reinvent ourselves into a Food Bank and reduce the number of volunteers to 6. We have two Barbaras, Janet, Karen and Becky and of course Joann. These amazing ladies work tirelessly to meet the demands that face us every day. Not only do they work very hard, they do so with a smile and a pleasant word for everyone who comes to our door. They make Branches work!
 

Moving forward, we know that things are going to remain very difficult for some time to come. In order to further meet the increased demands , we are going to be open from 10-12 on Saturdays for those who cannot come during the week.
 

There simply are not words to express our appreciation to those of you who so generously support our mission at Branches. May God bless you and may you stay safe and well in 2021.
 

With grateful thanks,

Sandra and Terri