Angelia Edwards with her mother Martha Price at Life Worth Living awards luncheon.

By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media

BRIDGETON — Sitting with her mother Martha Price, cousin J. Curtis Edwards and others Saturday at the Life Worth Living “Flowers While They Are Here” awards brunch, Angelia Edwards reflected about her years of service to the Bridgeton community.

Edwards, one of the honorees at the brunch, said she hopes to retire as a corrections officer at Southwood State Prison in 11 months and take some time off, including traveling “down south.” She has certainly put in her time giving to the community she has grown up in and has called “home” most of her life.

For more than 22 years, Edwards has been a member of the Bridgeton School Board, with voters returning her to the leadership position election after election. At times, she also served with J. Curtin Edwards, who is now a city councilman and president of the CompleteCare Health Network.

“I’ve just been trying to make the changes of children’s lives and see that kids get treated right and well,” Edwards, who was born in Edenton, N.C., told Front Runner New Jersey. “Sometimes things were looking a little grim but they still decided they wanted me to come and be a part of the community. I appreciate the fact that the community has trusted me to continue consecutive terms on the board of education.”

In the luncheon program Saturday, Life Worth Living recognized Edwards for giving the community “everything she has and more. For more than 30 years, Angelia has been doing the tough work of a community leader and organizer.”

While in high school, Edwards was the first girls basketball player to score more than 1,000 points in her career. In February, the Bridgeton High School athletic department retired her number for that honor.

Angelia Bland (c) accepts award when her number was retired by the Bridgeton H.S. girls basketball team in February. Photo courtesy Bridgeton Public Schools Facebook.

“That honor was a beautiful thing,” Edwards said about her number being retired. “One of the old superintendents came up with the idea.”

Angelia Edwards standing under the plaque where her No. 35 was retired by the Bridgeton H.S. girls basketball team in February. Photo courtesy of Bridgeton Public Schools Facebook.

For the past 12 years, Edwards has served as president of the Greater Vineland NAACP for the past 12 years. She said she worked with the NAACP to accomplish successes behind the scenes.

“We call it the grant of love,” Edwards said. “We show love to the community. We try to help people when they need rent. We try to help people with Christmas gifts and we try to make sure that they got food on a table. We don’t do a whole lot of protests.”

Former Cape May County NAACP branch president Alexander Bland, who sat at Edwards’ table Saturday, praised Edwards for the guidance she gave him.

Alexander Bland with Angelia Edwards at Life Worth Living awards brunch on Saturday, April 3. Photo courtesy Alexander Bland Facebook.

“As President of the Greater Vineland NAACP, she has taught me so much and kept me motivated at some of my hardest moments,” he said on Facebook. “I will forever appreciate you.”

In 2007, Edwards and her mother Martha Price created Manna From Heaven, a non-profit that provides meals for those in need daily. It now holds annual events that include an Easter dinner that is geared towards police departments, fire departments and rescue squads.

In 2019, they gave out 175 turkey and ham baskets to people that are in need of food during Thanksgiving. They stepped up their efforts during the coronavirus pandemic, helping feed more than 240 families at an event after receiving food from a food bank.

“Angelia is aware of the issues of the world but her focus has always been Cumberland County,” Life Worth Living said. “A champion to all causes that effect our children, Angelia leads in a firm and effective way. Angelia has given so much of herself to our community that is was overtime for us to return something to her.”

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