County finds funds for Bethel soup kitchen

The county’s largest soup kitchen was dealt a blow last month when it was discovered that the county changed the method for submitting for funding and failed to notify Bethel Development Corporation and instead sent notification to the church office. The county freeholders, to their credit, are making good.

The Cumberland County freeholders will consider a resolution next week to provide the food bank at Bethel AME Church with $20,000, taken from various accounts, to help fund their continued operations for next year, after officials at the church and its nonprofit organization — the Bethel Development Corporation (BDC) — failed to apply for county funding on time.

Bethel serves 4.300 meals per month. Having volunteered, I can attest that we are not talking about losers that are not seeking employment and merely gaming the system. Oh sure, there will always be a percentage looking for a handout. A majority of the patrons are senior citizens on fixed incomes, stretching their meager social security checks and being ensured a healthy and balanced meal.

The “misunderstanding” for the funding occurred when the county said that agencies would be allowed to file electronically. When they discovered a few churches in the townships “might not” have the capability of filing via the internet, they penalized every church.  They then, instead of mailing the information to the ministry office, they mailed it to the attention of the church office. This was sloppiness all around, on the part of county management.

Let’s hope that all freeholders get on board and correct this mistake, and ensure that it doesn’t happen again. In tightening up procedures for distributing funds such as these, they should also consider options for demanding better accountability from some other so-called ministries that use the bulk of their money to pay inflated salaries to family members.

When this website started publishing, we reported on a questionable allocation to Tri-County Action Agency and the rude and deplorable treatment of civilians by the freeholder board. I attended the meeting in question, and the freeholders promised and swore that the insane amount of money allocated for an after school program would be closely monitored and that the public would have regular reports. Well, Tri-County changed their name, and we know that half of the allocation went to pay salaries, and to this day there has not been ONE report or update from either the county or Tri-County aka Gateway.

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5 Responses to County finds funds for Bethel soup kitchen

  1. mango says:

    When I worked in Newark many years ago, I was introduced to the concept of the government-funded Community Action Agency serving as a power base for a local politician. In fact, Newark’s various council members each had his own base, most notoriously Steve Adubato’s North Ward Center. Another Community Action Agency was the base for Sharp James, ex-mayor and convicted felon. James is an interesting example, as he used the CAA as his political base for moving from city office to the state senate. Anyhow, the pattern — lead a local Community Action Agency, use its money to give jobs to supporters (whether or not they are qualified or do the job), run for political office, more patronage, run for higher office — are we seeing this play out in Cumberland County?

  2. Manny says:

    Why are you so concerned? it’s only a little money!

  3. baba says:

    Mango, don’t worry, it’s only 50 or 60 MILLION dollars that goes through the mysterious “agency”. I’m sure everything is fine.

  4. When ever a church cahanges its name to Developement Corporation scares me. Look what Shiloh Baptist chuch did when it change to development corporatation just look a the moneys it receive and a loan they didn’t have to pay back. This should throw up a RED FLAG.

  5. WuLi says:

    They didn’t change their name – it is a separate entity. And it is very professionally run, I know many of the people involved, and consider Pastor Wilkins a friend. He is a person who has a heart for people.

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