Moorestown helpline established to ensure residents don’t go hungry

Mayor Nicole Gillespie said as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to stretch on, Moorestown’s officials are acutely aware that more people will be in need of help. Because not every at-risk resident has access to a computer or the internet, they wanted to find a way to assist those in need.

So, Moorestown Township has partnered with the Moorestown Rotary Club to establish the “Moorestown Neighbors Helping Moorestown Neighbors” helpline. The helpline provides food and other necessary items to any resident in town experiencing financial difficulties, transportation limitations or whose compromised health puts them at risk.

At the end of March, Gillespie found herself on a video conference with some of the other elected officials in the region. As they exchanged ideas about how they could best serve their residents, Gillespie learned that Evesham Township had set up a helpline for those in need. 

Gillespie said many Moorestown residents are reaching out to the township to voice concerns about neighbors who have lost their jobs or are in need of help for any number of reasons. She said the helpline seemed like the right fit to help those people. 

“We already know we have people in need in our community; we think that number is going to increase,” Gillespie said. 

The Moorestown Rotary Club has since entered the picture to help the township get the helpline off the ground. Residents can either call the helpline at (856) 437-0305 or fill out the online form. From there, volunteers will either pick up groceries on a resident’s or family’s behalf or purchase the groceries if the resident/family cannot afford them at this time.

Gillespie said they’ve already received a “generous donation” for a Moorestown resident to get the helpline up and running, but they’ll also be collecting donations to help keep the helpline operational. Any resident who is interested in donating can do so at www.givesignup.org/DonationWebsite/MoorestownCOVIDHelp.

At this time, Gillespie is working with the Parks and Recreation Department as well as Rotary members to establish a set of safety procedures for both volunteers and the recipients of their services. 

“Our number one priority is making sure everyone stays safe,” Gillespie said.

She said the plan is to have “no contact” delivery services. Goods will be left at residents’ front doors, and recipients will be encouraged to bring them in, set them aside to sit for a day and wash their hands.  

The township is also looking for volunteers to help man the operation. Those interested can serve in a variety of ways. The township needs volunteers to staff the helpline by taking calls, answering emails and scheduling volunteer runs. The helpline is through a Google voice number, so the line can be answered from volunteers’ homes. 

Additionally, they need volunteers to perform the errands and drop off deliveries. These volunteers must be at least 18 years old, able to drive and cannot display any symptoms of the virus.

Gillespie said to a certain degree, they’ll be figuring the operation out as they go. She said while there are still operational food pantries in town, they’re hoping to fill a niche for people who can’t leave the house.

“Nobody in Moorestown should be going hungry through this crisis,” Gillespie said. 

To contact the helpline for yourself or a neighbor, call (856) 437-0305,  email MoorestownCOVID19Help@gmail.com or fill out an online form at bit.ly/MoorestownCOVID19Help. Those interested in volunteering can request to do so at bit.ly/MoorestownCOVID19Help

To donate, visit www.givesignup.org/DonationWebsite/MoorestownCOVIDHelp