By MADDY VITALE
Ocean City realtors were part of a seven-car caravan Wednesday headed for a major delivery of clothing and other necessities to help those in need.
Every year the Ocean City Board of Realtors (OCBOR) hosts the “Warmth for Winter” clothing drive. The clothing drive is done in cooperation with the Ocean City Ecumenical Council, an association of local churches that gives families in need some assistance.
And each year donations are collected, and the items are distributed to the local community through the Ocean City Ecumenical Council Clothes Closet. The clothing drive ends in time for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Gloria Votta, chairwoman of the Community Services Committee for the OCBOR, arrived at the Clothes Closet in the early afternoon, with six other cars following her. When they pulled into the lot, they didn’t waste any time.
The local realtors worked together and quickly to bring in new and gently used clothing and other items generously donated by the realtors, business owners, organizations and residents.
“We have seven carloads filled with bags of clothing, comforters, sheets, hats, pillowcases, winter clothes, children’s boots, blankets. There is so much,” Votta said.
While it appeared that there was a major amount of donations, judging by the stacks that the realtors brought in, Votta said there is always an abundance of donations.
“People in the community are always generous,” she said.
Votta was joined by fellow realtors, including Pete Madden, realtor/broker/owner of Goldcoast Sotheby’s International Realty on 34th Street.
Madden said he wasn’t exactly sure how long he has been involved in the clothing drive, but it has been years.
He carried large bags stuffed with donated items to help others. In addition to being a real estate broker, Madden is also the president of City Council.
“It’s a great cause,” Madden said of why he continues to be a part of the clothing drive year after year. “I enjoy helping the community. Gloria and the Board of Realtors do such a great job. It’s hard not to want to be a part of something so well organized and helpful to the community.”
Rissa Trofa, of the Ecumenical Council, is in charge of the Clothes Closet. The Ecumenical Council also has a Food Cupboard inside St. Peter’s United Methodist Church overseen by Ecumenical Council member Regina Ralston.
Trofa thanked the realtors for all of the donations and helped them bring the items inside. Later in the day, she said, she would be busy sorting, folding and hanging all of the items so that they will be available to the people who visit the Clothes Closet.
“Every year the Ocean City community gives us donations. We also get donations from other communities,” Trofa said.
Among the other communities are Sea Isle City, Somers Point and Marmora.
“People are generous, and we are able to help a lot of people because of that,” Trofa said.
In fact, she said, on average, the Clothes Closet helps many people a month.
“People can come twice a month,” she said. “I think, on average, at least 60 to 80 people come in a month.”
In addition to gently worn or new clothing, the Clothes Closet asks for donations of linens, comforters, blankets and towels.
“We also give away new things with money from donations to the Ecumenical Council,” Trofa added. “In early September we gave away new coats for kids, and I’ll have some blankets to give away next month.”
The Ocean City Board of Realtors is located at 405 22nd Street. For more information about the board, visit https://www.ocbor.com.
For information about the Ocean City Ecumenical Council, visit ocecnj.org.