CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE, New Jersey (WPVI) -- "I ran a construction company for years. I was a union ironworker," said Mike Barrett. "But now, this is what I've been made to do."
Barrett's retirement introduced him to his passion project, which is serving the community through the Our Lady of the Angels food pantry.
The weekly mission existed long before he started volunteering. But after a few changes of hands, Barrett and his wife took over in January 2022.
"They were only doing about 20 families a week and then it just kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger," he said. "We're averaging 34 families now."
Barrett receives donations from the local Acme and Wawa stores in addition to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey. Parishioners also make donations through Our Lady of the Angels Church. Barrett even receives random cash donations from people he sees in the supermarket.
"We're a resort community down here, which means in the winter, we're not that busy," he said. "But people are still so generous to help us out."
One beneficiary of the food pantry is Derick Ironside from Cape May Court House, who is looking to return to work later this year after losing his job.
"If you get laid off from work or anything like this, get a few items and stuff like that," he said. "This is a place, you know, to really help people, you know, when times get slow."
Churchgoers can participate in an ongoing donation campaign known as "40 Days of Giving," which coincides with the Lenten season. Later this year, on May 23rd, a charity golf tournament will take place. The event is designed to sustain a large chunk of the food pantry's financial needs for the year.
To learn more about Our Lady of the Angels Food Pantry and how to get involved, visit the parish website.
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