By: Gabrielle Mills, Follow South Jersey Contributing Writer
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — What would you do to help someone you love? Carol Rostucher found herself answering that question while looking for her son on Philadelphia’s streets. While in search she saw that her son wasn’t the only person in her community struggling with substance abuse.
Soon enough, Rostucher began giving out what she calls “blessing bags” filled with snacks, personal sanitary products, words of encouragement and a list of substance abuse resources. From there, Angels in Motion was born. Now, the organization has chapters in Pennsylvania and Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Susan Long, director of the New Jersey chapter has had her own victory against substance abuse. “I was homeless myself when I started volunteering,” says Long. Since the she has earned a degree in social work and worked with Angels in Motion for eight years, helping to bring support to Atlantic City’s most vulnerable.
“I was trying to make up for lost time,” says Long.
The NJ chapter is fully volunteer based. “There are no paid positions.” she states. “We have really good volunteers.” Despite being fully volunteer-based, Angels in Motion has faithfully held Wednesday outreach weekly. Each Wednesday, those in need can come collect blessing bags and a meal. “We’re going to be there, with a smile on our faces,” says Long of Wednesday Outreach.
Angels in Motion also hosts “blessing bag parties,” usually in a local church, where community members of all ages can help put together care packages. While support and harm reduction are the goals for Angels in Motion, the organization also connects those struggling with substance abuse to resource and treatment centers. “We try to guide people to recovery, if they’re ready,” says Long.
“We helped 150 people get into sober living,” says Long, referring to addiction treatment centers.
For those looking to get involved or donate, the next blessing back party will be held on June 2 6:00 p.m. at Fresh Start Church in Egg Harbor Township.
“I’m really proud of what we’ve become,” states Long.
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