How one South Jersey man's food, clothing pantry aims to address poverty in his community

Mario Partee and his team of volunteers are feeding 600 people each month.
WINSLOW TWP., New Jersey (WPVI) -- A South Jersey man is helping hundreds of people in his community each month with his private food pantry.

"When I first started this, I didn't think there was a need here in Winslow Township," said Mario Partee, executive director of Community Care Food and Clothing Pantry.

He operates the pantry set up like a grocery store from a one-story home off Sicklerville Road.

Partee and his team of volunteers are feeding 600 people each month.

"If people feel like they're going to a supermarket, they'll feel more comfortable shopping," he said. "There's no trading in the parking lot with this rice or this can of beans. People are actually getting the food they believe they need for their family."

Partee started the nonprofit with his mom, Dianne, about a decade ago after hearing from community leaders and realizing about 10% of the township lives in poverty.

"They're still struggling to feed their families, and those are the families we try to find and make sure they're taken care of," said Mayor Marie Lawrence.

The pantry has evolved into a place where neighbors can get all their necessities, from canned goods to frozen meats to clothing.

Partee credits his mother's vision for the pantry's success.

"She always believed in helping people. I didn't realize at the time she was teaching that to me all along," he said.

Partee's mom passed away in 2017. At the time, he wasn't sure how he'd continue this effort without her.

But this week, as he reflects on what would have been her 78th birthday on March 22, he knows she's still at the heart of this organization.

"I get really emotional about it because I'm still doing this, and I believe it's all because of her spirit," he said. "Her legacy of giving is part of my life now."

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