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The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Nov 06, 2019

Love at The Center: The Journal’s Holiday Giving Campaign to Benefit Asbury Park Nonprofit

By Lori Draz

Once again, The Journal invites you to join in our Holiday Giving Campaign. We thank you in advance for your generosity as we ask you to share Love at The Center.

Great advances have been made in the treatment and the understanding of HIV and AIDS, yet there are many living with this disease who struggle daily.

In 1992, the disease was more rampant and the public’s knowledge of living with HIV and AIDS was much less evolved. That was year Roman Catholic Priest Father Bob Kaeding, formerly of St. Anselm and Precious Blood, and a team of volunteers, opened The Center in a small storefront on Mattison Avenue in Asbury Park. The Center, a 501(c)3 organization, began living its mission of serving folks living with HIV and AIDS.

Father Bob Kaeding

In 2006, The Center moved into a much larger, friendly building on Third Avenue. Over the years, hundreds of volunteers have helped thousands of people by offering them access to social services and a warm lunch, along with the most important side dish of human compassion. At The Center, people find someone to talk to and show them some love, someone to understand and share a hug.

In addition to the free lunch program, The Center also provides food for 25 residents and delivers food baskets for those living with HIV and AIDS.

It’s a lot of meals and that means a lot of food, and here’s how you can help. Now through Friday, Jan. 3, drop off a donation of unperishable food – including peanut butter, jelly, cereal coffee, canned vegetables, canned fruits and canned meats – to one of the designated locations listed below. The Center also welcomes donations of socks and men’s and women’s underwear.


Your unwrapped donations can be dropped off at:

The Journal, 1151 Broad St., Suite 118, Shrewsbury

Holmdel Library, 101 Crawfords Corner (at Bell Works)

Colt Neck Library, 1 Winthrop Dr.

Middletown Library, 55 New Monmouth Rd.

Oceanic Library, 109 Avenue of Two Rivers

Eastern Monmouth Library Headquarters, 1001 Route 35

“We are blessed to be the recipient of this year’s campaign,” Kaeding said. “Each day, I am elevated as I witness God’s love expressed by the open-hearted volunteers at The Center and our many generous benefactors. Now I am further blessed to meet all the many readers of The Journal magazines. The struggles of these people living with HIV/AIDS are many, but so is their gratitude.”

Journal Publisher Lou Mercatanti added, “I first met The Center when my daughter Camryn’s class at Red Bank Catholic held a food drive. Camryn is now a college student, but I have continued to support this fine charity that offers comfort to so many in need. Your donations do make a difference, and on behalf of the entire staff of The Journal, we thank you.”

To learn more about the Center, visit To contact the Journal to arrange a large donation pick-up, email