Gopal, Houghtaling and Downey Announce State Award for Interfaith Neighbors

OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Senator Vin Gopal joined Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling and Assemblywoman Joann Downey in announcing a $25,000 award to Interfaith Neighbors in Asbury Park from the state Meals On Wheels program.

“For many older people living alone, the daily meal that Interfaith Neighbors volunteers bring to their door is the only hot, nutritious meal they will eat that day. The visit with a Senior Meals on Wheels volunteer also gives them a chance to socialize and it helps maintain their good spirits as well as their health,” said Gopal (D-Long Branch).

The Monmouth County Senior Nutrition/Meals on Wheels program, operated by Interfaith Neighbors in collaboration with the Monmouth County Office on Aging, means so much more than simply a nutritious meal, said Interfaith Neighbors Executive Director Paul L. McEvily. Each day, approximately 125 volunteers deliver or serve more than 1,100 meals to senior citizen neighbors across Monmouth County. These meals help seniors live independently in their own homes.

“Interfaith Neighbors is a safety net for many people throughout Monmouth County,” said Houghtaling (D-Neptune). “By providing basic necessities such as a healthy meal, Interfaith Neighbors is improving the quality of life for families and communities.”

“In addition to being a source of nutrition, a visit from a Meals on Wheels volunteer helps battle the loneliness and isolation that many older people face every day,” said Downey (D-Freehold). “As we age, many of us are alone more often than when we were younger. The National Institute on Aging notes that studies have linked social isolation and loneliness to health problems such as cognitive decline, depression, and heart disease.”

“The daily contact with a volunteer often leads to caring friendships, reducing loneliness and isolation,” McEvily said. “With an aging population, the importance of this program continues to grow as more of our senior citizens come to rely on it. We are especially grateful for Assemblyman Houghtaling and Assemblywoman Downey, and Senator Gopal’s support for the program and for his support of senior citizens throughout the county.”