Camden, New Jersey rec center transforms into grocery store ahead of Thanksgiving

"Our mission is to break the cycle of childhood poverty and nutrition is a big part of that."

ByTom Kretschmer WPVI logo
Monday, November 21, 2022
NJ rec center transforms into grocery store
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On Monday, The Neighborhood Center was transformed into a pop-up grocery store for those in need.

CAMDEN, New Jersey (WPVI) -- On a normal night, about 200 children would be playing basketball at The Neighborhood Center in Camden, New Jersey. On Monday, it was transformed into a pop-up grocery store for those in need.

Volunteers at The Neighborhood Center in Camden spent the day receiving donations and prepping their basketball court for the "Community Flash Grocery Store". The store will be open to about 600 pre-registered families in need to shop for all their Thanksgiving food needs.

Michael Landis, the executive director of The Neighborhood Center, and said it's important to feed these families with nutritious foods.

"Our mission is to break the cycle of childhood poverty and nutrition is a big part of that. This area is facing not a calorie crisis but a nutrition crisis, so we want to stock our grocery store with good foods emphasizing fresh vegetables and good eating habits," he said.

Valerie Cooke is the volunteer coordinator here at the center. She's been here for 22 years. She said it's the holiday for families and that's why she's proud to serve.

"We've been here in this location for 110 years that stands alone. We've been serving this same community and we have the support of the community and we're here to serve and that's what we want to do is serve. That's what I get out of it," she said.

The volunteers packed the gym full of food donated from all across the state of New Jersey. They hope to move about three and a half tons of turkeys for the big holiday.

"Just to have families come in here and know that they're going to have a meal on Thanksgiving, come together as a family is what keeps me going," Cooke said.

For more information about The Neighborhood Center in Camden please visit, https://www.neighborhoodrising.org