OCEAN CITY – Visitors to the Ocean City Fishing Club’s Open House at the Pier on August 24 again broke records for donations to the Ocean City Food Cupboard.
In a two-hour period, 773 visitors came through the pier gate and donated 195 lbs of non-perishable food and $967 in cash to help the local mission. That broke the record set at the July 27 open house by five more pounds of food and $10 more cash—and with fewer people attending. Over the two open houses this year, 2,112 people came to the pier, another record.
“We had 1,339 people come out in July,” said Tom Yucis, OCFC president, “and we collected more than we ever did in recent memory. This time, 773 people came out and we still set another record. Weather may have dampened the turnout, but not people’s enthusiasm and support. I’m very pleased to see such a great community response to help the Food Cupboard.”
A brief shower just before the club opened its gate at 6 p.m., ominous clouds and a stiff breeze didn’t deter Jessica and Ralph Vega, Great Neck, Long Island, from waiting to be first on the pier.
“We’ve been coming to Ocean City for 40 years,” Jessica said. “but we’ve never been on the fishing club pier. We’re anxious to see the view of the Boardwalk from the pier and to take a few pictures.”
After they entered, the traffic onto the pier was steady and enthusiastic. Many expressed thanks to club members for allowing them to tour the pier and were happy to contribute to the OC Food Cupboard. Taking photos was a priority for many, also.
The club has been holding open houses on the pier to benefit the food agency since its centennial celebration in 2013. The open house program was suspended in 2020 due to the pandemic and resumed this year.
Just minutes before the event ended, Bethany Harris, Hohokus, rushed through the gate at 7:57 p.m., to be the last visitor this year.
“My family was just taking too long to finish dinner,” she said, “and I just had to get to here before you closed. I rode my bike, but remembered the
restrictions on bikes on the Boardwalk, so I had to find a different route. But I made it!”
A short time later, she came back to the gate, happy that she was able to contribute to the Food Cupboard, walk the 750-foot pier and take some pictures.
“My family is going to be very jealous,” she said as she headed for her bike to ride home.
The OCFC, a private fishing club, arranges two open houses each summer to help the Food Cupboard. They coincide with the city’s Family Night on the Boardwalk schedule. The club has a strong commitment to community involvement through youth fishing tournaments, awarding scholarships and advocating for recreational fishing. Founded in 1913, it is the oldest continually operating fishing club in America