Rockaway Rotary supports local food pantry

Rockaway Rotary Club President Janice Christensen, left, presents a check for $2,055 to Rockaway Food Closet Director Linda Kirby.
Rockaway Rotary Club President Janice Christensen, left, presents a check for $2,055 to Rockaway Food Closet Director Linda Kirby.

During the week of Sept. 29, the Rockaway Rotary Club donated more than $2,000 to the Rockaway Food Closet, an organization of local volunteers who help feed the hungry in Rockaway Borough and Rockaway Township.

"The Rotary Club has made an ongoing commitment to helping fund the Rockaway Food Closet because we do not want any of our neighbors to go hungry," said Janice Christensen, president of the club.

"This donation will help feed the 130 families who depend on us every month," adds Linda Kirby, volunteer director of the food pantry. "Many people we see never thought they would end up needing our support. But due to job loss, underemployment, a death in the family or divorce, they find themselves coming up short in living expenses. As we all know, housing costs in Morris County are some of the highest in the nation."

Many people pick up food until they have recovered from a financial crisis. Others, such as single parents, the elderly on fixed incomes or disabled individuals, remain as long-term beneficiaries.

Twelve volunteers accept donations, stock shelves, bag donations and serve as drivers.

"Ours is a completely volunteer organization. No one is paid and 100 percent of all donations go to buying food for our neighbors," Kirby explained. "The Rockaway Food Closet was formed in 1984. The Rockaway Rotary Club has supported for us for many years, and we truly appreciate their help."

When the Food Closet first opened, many families required assistance. That number steadily increased to 90 families a month by 2007, and in 2008, when the economy took a swift downturn, the number increased to the 130 families a month that are helped today.

The Rockaway Rotary Club is the local chapter of Rotary International, a club dedicated to humanitarian service at the community level. The club meets every Wednesday at 12:15 p.m. at The Exchange, or for those unable to make a mid-day meeting, at the Assembly of God Church in Rockaway on Wednesdays at 7:30 a.m.

To learn more about the club, call Janice Christensen 973-586-0630 or email rockawayrotary@

While not affiliated with any religious organization, the Rockaway Food Closet is located in the First Presbyterian Church at 35 Church St. in Rockaway Borough. Anyone interested in making a donation or becoming a volunteer should call Linda Kirby at 973-627-1059.