Tom's River, NJ
Nominated by Robin O'Reilly
Your Grandmother's Cupboard
Length of Service:
Hours per Month:
February 7, 2012
In the winter of 2005, Jean and Clark Paradise became aware of three camps of homeless individuals living in the woods outside of Lakewood, NJ. With the help of Minister Steve Brigham, they started bringing blankets, clothing, and portable heaters to the camps. They soon learned that these folks were lacking personal care items like soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toilet paper, etc.
Answering the call to action, they asked friends and family to gather clothes, blankets and personal care items to bring to the tent city. The response was positive, the generosity more than they expected. They sought out others who would need the remaining donations. What they discovered was shocking. They found that there were many families living in motel rooms throughout Ocean County and hundreds more barely getting by, and so they continued to ask for donations and brought them to motels, the tent city, soup kitchens and shelters. As word spread about their ministry, they started to receive phone calls requesting help from church groups and individuals. As the need grew, so did their ambition and so Your Grandmother's Cupboard was born. From a small donated space in Ocean County, they now operate from locations in Toms River and Phillipsburg, The "Cupboard" has acquired three enclosed trailers and two mini-vans that are used to serve thousands of homeless and nearly homeless families and individuals every month throughout New Jersey and parts of Pennsylvania.
What should have been a quiet retirement for Jean and Clark has turned into a full time job. Both in their 80's they visit over 25 soup kitchens, shelters and motels every month bringing a trailer full of donated clothes, blankets, books, food and toiletries.
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