“If only it wasn’t so gloomy.”
Twelve years ago that was the feeling Pat Sherman had of the holiday dinners she would organize for the surrounding community. She is the President and Founder of a Belmar-based non-profit organization called FEEDing Frenz.
Her very first community dinner was held in a warehouse back in the 90’s. They would have to look for a new venue every holiday; serving dinners on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. Most of the time they would find a church basement to host their dinners.
“Let’s do it here,” was Marilyn’s reply as Pat expressed that sentiment over dinner one night at Market in the Middle, (Marilyn’s first restaurant in Asbury Park).
Marilyn Schlossbach is the owner of Langosta Lounge, APYC, and Pop’s Garage on the boardwalk in Asbury Park. The two women had no idea how that simple exchange would spark a journey and turn into something great.
Hearing her distress Marilyn wanted to offer her restaurant as the venue and create a “dinner party” atmosphere for the guests. The first year they had a hundred people. They were excited over the success. Twelve years later they are feeding up to 1000 people.
Although they don’t do it alone; there are business organizations, community members, artists, and musicians donating their talent, food, clothing and their time to help make this event a success.
Some of the sponsors include The Pepsi Beverage Company, which is one of their biggest sponsors and donates all the beverages. Wegmans is also a contributor, as well as Falcon Construction company who donates turkeys, and US Foods (one of their vendors) who gives them credit to purchase whatever they need.
People come from all over Monmouth County to participate in this
Norman Robertson, who lives in Asbury Park, has been coming to help out on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter for the past five years. He usually serves food. This year he cleaned tables.
“I don’t care what I’m doing as long as I’m helping out. This is a very humbling experience.”
Diane Shelton, (photo on right) the community outreach specialist for Interfaith Neighbors, volunteered for the first time this year.
“I’m having a great time. I enjoy giving back to the community.”
Over the years, these Thanksgiving dinners have grown and evolved. Patrons and guests come for all different reasons: some come because they have a big family and it’s a great place for them to all celebrate together. Some because they don’t have a lot family to celebrate with and enjoy being around people for the holiday.
FEEDing Frenz also has volunteers delivering food. They bring Thanksgiving dinners to the Senior Center on Springwood Avenue and to the Police Department for the service men and women who are working on the holiday.
The atmosphere at Langosta Lounge during is fun and festive. There’s live music, face painting, clowns making balloon animals, and people just making sure things go smoothly. All are volunteers. They also have donated clothing that people can select from to take home.
A typical Thanksgiving meal is prepared and served: turkey, yams, sweet potatoes, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and Marilyn’s special cranberry sauce. There’s also soup, pasta, and a large array of desserts which are all donated from local businesses.
Marilyn Schlossbach also has her own non-profit, called “Food for Thought by the Sea”.
On top of all that, Marilyn also has a new book she’ll be launching this weekend through her non-profit. The book is titled Feed this Community, and it has 11 chapters for 11 charities. $11 of the proceeds for every book sold will go to a local charity.
The book is compilations of her own recipes, some family recipes, and chefs’ recipes from her various restaurants over the years. The book’s been six years in the making and has finally come to fruition.
Each chapter is dedicated to a specific charity and the recipe relates to its benefactor. For example; the boys and girls club will feature a dessert recipe. Mary’s Place will feature a healthy vegan recipe.
A book signing and celebration will be held this Saturday, December 1st at words! Bookstore on Cookman Avenue before the Christmas Tree Lighting.
There will also be a fund raiser for ‘Food For Thought’ and the Food Truck project; The Dreaming Tree Wine Dinner on December 6th.
“We hope you had as fun a Thanksgiving as we had!”
FEEDing Frenzin cooperation with the AP Anti Hunger Coalition holds dinners on the last Tuesday of each month, 6 pm at Trinity Church on Asbury Ave.
*This article was edited on 12/5/18 and 12/6/18