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Baby, it's Cold Outside...Let's Help Warm Things Up


Torna with Michael Grande of Morganville's Rock Out Loud music school

Every once in a while you meet someone who you just know is special. It may be their personality, or it may be the way they make the world a better place. In the case of Torna Bell, she checks both boxes. Torna is a ball of light - warm, funny, and generous. You just love her. But most of all, she makes good things happen. When she saw a need to feed families at the start of the pandemic, she didn’t just think about how sad it was that people were going hungry - she kicked into gear and began the Provisions Promised food pantry at the Bethel AME church in Freehold. Supported wholeheartedly by congregants and community members, they instantly started making lives better.


It’s quite an operation. When Torna reached out to the local restaurants, they were grateful to have a vehicle to help make a difference, and eagerly stepped up to help feed the community. Grocery stores and private citizens followed suit, donating food and basic personal care items such as soap, shampoo, and deodorant. Businesses such as Rock Out Loud in Morganville not only donate food, but show up to help hand it out. The Provisions Promised Pantry now helps to feed over 175 families weekly! That’s 175 families that you may pass by in stores, your place of worship, or workplace, without an inkling that they just waited on a food line to help feed their loved ones. But it's not just about food - it’s about dignity and faith; Torna ensures there is a steady supply of all that, too. As she told us, “There are so many ways to make a difference.”



With Christmas around the corner, Torna sought to provide an extra-special experience for the local children in need. She sent Christmas wishlists home with the families who came for their Thanksgiving dinners, and awaited the adorable requests of dolls and dump trucks and Legos. Instead, she was saddened to discover that over half the requests were for coats, underwear, and socks. These are basic needs, not “wants” - but for a disadvantaged family, the two are synonymous. So in addition to the goal of providing a child with a special toy to cherish, she is asking for donations of clothing to keep the children of local families warm this winter as they walk to school or play outside.


Torna Bell and the dedicated congregants and volunteers of Bethel AME Church in Freehold continue to make the world a better place. Consider volunteering to be a part of this special effort! Contact dhowell@monmouthhistory.org to learn how.


Bethel AME Church, 3 Waterworks Rd. Freehold



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