By MADDY VITALE
Generosity of a community, people lending support, donating food to those who are struggling because they are out of work or can’t make ends meet, is what Ocean City is about, explained Gloria Votta, chairwoman of Community Services for the Ocean City Board of Realtors.
“The people in the community are amazingly generous,” Votta said in an interview Saturday. “There is one man who wishes to remain anonymous who gives us $800 for coats for kids each year. People are just really giving.”
The Ocean City Board of Realtors (OCBOR) kicked off its 2021 Community Service Projects Saturday, with the “Food Is Love, Share Some Love,” winter food drive for those in need.
Non-perishable foods including canned items, juice, microwaveable meals and more are needed. Donations will be collected from now through Feb. 28 and can be dropped off at area real estate offices in Ocean City listed below.
The annual food drive is in partnership with the Ocean City Ecumenical Council, an association of local churches that helps needy families. All of the items will be donated to the Ecumenical Council’s Food Cupboard at St. Peter’s United Methodist Church at Eighth Street and Central Avenue.
“Post holidays, the cupboard needs to be replenished. This has been an especially hard year for the food cupboard due to COVID and lack of donations,” Votta said. “We encourage our realtor family, friends and neighbors to donate items for the Ecumenical Food Cupboard this winter for families in need.”
This year the Ecumenical Council members asked that people donate canned vegetables, diced tomatoes, peaches, pears, pineapples and hot cocoa packets among other items. Laundry and dish detergent, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, paper products and food store gift cards are also needed.
Votta said she hopes that the food drive is an overwhelming success because this year more families have fallen on difficult times because of job loss due to the pandemic.
“I feel bad for the people in the restaurant industry. There are waitresses and other service workers out there who haven’t worked for months,” Votta said. “I feel so sorry for casino workers. I am sure that there are people who live in Ocean City who need a little help who normally never would have. Casino and service workers are having an unusually hard year and we want to be able to help. No one should ever go hungry.”
Votta, along with members of the OCBOR and Ecumenical Council have worked hard on the food drive since about 2011.
She credited fellow realtors and members of the Ecumenical Council for working together to make the food drives successful year after year.
City Councilman Peter Madden is also a broker/owner of Goldcoast Sotheby’s at 34th Street.
Every year Madden joins the other realtors to help out in the food drive.
“It’s a great cause and helps a lot of people,” Madden said. “It’s something we do every year, but it is even more important this year with everything going on in the world.”
Votta said she appreciates Madden’s help and the assistance of her other colleagues along with the Ecumenical Council for making the food drive possible year after year.
“Pete is always awesome in packing up his SUV with donations to take to St. Pete’s for the food cupboard,” she pointed out. “We always get a train of cars going to St. Pete’s all packed up with food donations.”
The multiple drop-off locations this year make it more convenient, Votta noted, for people dropping off food and toiletries.
Donations may be dropped off at the following real estate offices:
Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach, 109 34th Street and 901 Simpson Ave.
Fox Real Estate, 894 Brighton by the Beach
Goldcoast Sothebys International Realty, 200 34th Street
Long & Foster Real Estate, 14 East 9th Street
Monihan Realty, 717 Battersea Rd. and 3201 Central Ave.
RE/MAX at The Shore, 3301 Bay Ave.