HOWELL – Recently, Governor Phil Murphy recognized the local non-profit organization, the Howell Township Police Athletic League (PAL).
“Over the past few months, we’ve been highlighting many of the small businesses who have received truly lifesaving support from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. Along with them, many community-based non-profits have also stepped forward to receive EDA grants that have allowed them to maintain their essential community missions. One of those is the Howell Township Police Athletic League,” Governor Murphy addressed at his briefing.
The Howell PAL’s mission is to foster positive relationships among the youth and police officers in the community through sports and education. The organization has been going since 1979 and is currently run by its President and CEO Sgt. Chris Hill.
“I really appreciate Governor Murphy recognizing the hard work of the staff, the volunteers, the kids that come to PAL and the people not only in our community but Monmouth County,” Hill said. “It’s always enlightening when the kids, volunteers and staff get a chance to be recognized.”
Like many, even the Howell PAL is feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Howell PAL ensures that kids in the community have recreational and other extra-curricular actives. However, Hill knew the pandemic would be a major challenge for the organization.
“Just like everyone else we’ve been facing a lot of challenges. We do a lot of volunteer work in the community, we work with seniors and we work with the kids especially. Most of our work is in person so it’s been challenging to get kids together because parents are afraid and to work with certain groups is hard because you don’t want to be getting anyone sick,” Hill said.
While facing these challenges head on, Hill worked with the EDA to secure grant funding to keep their mission alive.
“We received the grant back in September and it was very good because it allowed us to be able to support more of the residents who were struggling to meet everyday necessities,” Hill said.
Not only does the PAL provide a safe outlet for Howell’s youth, but they also do a lot of volunteer work all across the shore communities, including Monmouth and Ocean counties.
“I will tell you that we always have people to show up that help, not only here but we partner with another chapter that we started in Neptune and since the pandemic started, we’ve been delivering meals to senior citizens and a two week supply of groceries every two weeks. Over 140 meals are delivered every two weeks,” Hill said. “We’ve also done quite a few things in Howell with the homeless community and there’s a lot of families that are in need. We still have a lot of food and delivery programs we do here in Howell Township.”
The Howell PAL is still going strong and organizing activities for the youth in a safe manner, whether it’s in-person or virtually.
“We have our Youth leadership meetings on Wednesdays and it’s all done virtually, but we still get together to clean communities or deliver meals or whatever is needed,” Hill said. “Right now, one of the campaigns I’m working with the Howell Senior Center on is essentially like adopt a grandparent. Many seniors are alone, so this gives the someone to talk to whether it’s through Zoom or regular mail.”
“I just want to say a special thanks to the youth of Howell for stepping up and always being there to support the community. I want to thank the business community for supporting us as well. Lastly, I want to thank the Soccer Post in Eatontown, they made a very large donation to us, to give out throughout the county to people who are in need of soccer and other sports supplies, it was over $100,000 worth of goods. So we’re really grateful for everything,” Hill said.
To learn more about the Howell PAL’s programs and organization, visit howellpal.org.