Madonna House continues service despite financial woes
Neptune-based Madonna House is once again in the midst of ramped-up efforts to help those in need during the holiday season.
The charity was started in 1987 by Rebecca Blonski to provide support for local needy children and families.
"And we serve between three to five-thousand local women and children a year. We give everything away," she said.
During the year, the main focus is the giving away of clothes. The entire operation is centered around volunteers and donations with some additional income from a thrift store on their premises.
"Our little thrift store supports us because we take no government funding. We have no paid staff. It's all volunteer," Blonski said.
Blonski said she and her staff take pride in making sure the items that are given to those in need are fine quality and in great shape. Residents are referred to Madonna House by social service agencies, other charities, and hospitals.
Madonna House's annual Christmas Gift Giving program, which runs until tomorrow, is in full-swing. The attention shifts from just a clothing drive to the donation of toys and other items to local children.
"It's such a beautiful thing to witness. I stand in awe and I look at all of these gifts that we'll be able to give children," she said. "We just don't give them one toy, they end up getting about 10 things."
Blonski expects to equip more than 900 children with new toys, clothes and other essential items during the holidays.
While there has been no drop-off in the services provided by Madonna House, the charity faces an uncertain future. They have until 2016 to pay off a looming mortgage, which poses major hurdles for an organization that does not receive government funding.
Still, Blonski remains optimistic that Madonna House will survive this latest setback and continue to provide help for anybody in need around the community.
"As with any non-profit, they always need money. We need money. And we serve such a huge community."