NEEDS WITH DIGNITY
An Interfaith Emergency Food Network
Quarterly Newsletter Fall 2010
“ We are the light of MEND Mission
God’s kindness to the
poor… Give them not only An interfaith organization meeting the emergency needs of the disadvantaged
your care, but also your of Essex County, working to support and facilitate their growth as self-sufficient indi-
viduals; assisting them in obtaining benefits to which they are entitled; and advocat-
heart.” ing for policies that will improve the quality of their lives.
Back to School Drive a Success Action Against HungerTM Food Drive
85 Backpacks Distributed to Children Emergency food demand is up. Supplies are down.
In August the MEND Coordinator received a call The 19th Annual Action Against Hunger™ Food
from Marjorie Lucas of the Women’s Group at First Drive was held Sunday, October 3, 2010. The massive
Presbyterian Church, Caldwell. Her group had filled 85 one-day drive collected several tons of food and many tax
new backpacks with an assortment of school supplies -deductible contributions at more than 100 locations
and they were ready for distribution to MEND families across northern New Jersey. The drive was sponsored by
facing difficult times. North Jersey Media Foundation. MEND coordinated the
For many of those we serve-the working poor, the volunteer effort at 16 Essex County locations, including
disabled, grandparents raising grandchildren -the ex- the following supermarkets to which we owe a debt of
pense of a backpack and school supplies can put a real gratitude: A&P (Bloomfield and Montclair), Foodtown
financial strain on the family. If MEND can provide a (Cedar Grove), Kings (Maplewood, Montclair, Short
new school backpack to struggling families it helps to Hills, and Verona), PathMark (Bellville, Montclair, and
ease their stress and lifts the children’s spirits. One par- South Orange), ShopRite (Milburn, Nutley, Springfield,
ent who received a backpack filled with goodies for her and West Caldwell) and Stop & Shop (Bloomfield). Sin-
8 year old daughter said ”This is wonderful. Now my cere thanks are
child will have something new for the first day of also due to
school. I am so grateful.” those volun-
Five of the sixteen MEND pantries received back- teers from
packs for their neediest clients: Bloomfield Church on MEND pan-
the Green, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Trinity Re- tries and spon-
formed Church, Bessie Green Community Inc. and soring houses
Bethel Church of Love and Praise. Next year we hope to of worship
encourage other groups to donate so we can supply all who graciously
the MEND pantries with backpacks. contributed
“What impresses me” said Sharon Reilly-Tobin, their time to
MEND Coordinator,” is the obvious care that went into this effort. Volunteers from Church Women United at Pathmark, in
(Continued on page 6) (Continued on page 2)
(Continued from page 1)
HungerTM is now the largest food drive in the metropolitan A Message from …
area, serving 65
pantries. One hun-
dred per cent of Sharon Tobin-Reilly
the donations go to MEND Coordinator
those in need
thanks to the vol- This year Meeting
untary efforts of Emergency Needs with Dig-
MEND and other nity celebrates its 30th Anniversary of helping needy
pantries volun- Essex County residents with emergency food and sup-
teers. port services. The pantry managers, staff and volunteers
Even though continue to offer nourishment and support to those fac-
contributors were ing difficult times with kindness and compassion -
most generous, Bloomfield Presbyterian Church Volunteers at
Stop & Shop in Bloomfield
much as they have done since the program's inception
demand for emer- in 1980. This past year the sixteen MEND pantries
gency food is growing faster than supplies. Sharon Reilly helped over 66,000 people with emergency food sup-
-Tobin, coordinator of MEND, notes that, “In 2009, plies.
MEND served more than 66,000 people. What is most The people who come to the MEND pantries are:
troubling is that 46% of these individuals were children. seniors struggling on a fixed income, single mothers,
Like others, we the homeless, veterans, the unemployed , the recovering
are struggling drug addict/alcoholic. They are people who have fallen
to keep pace on hard times who, because of a medical emergency or
with demand. personal crisis, have nowhere to turn but a church food
In order to stay pantry for help.
open, MEND Now with the severe downturn in the economy, there
pantries have are increasing numbers of the newly unemployed. Peo-
had to ration ple who once were contributors to a food pantry now
what they pro- find themselves in need of assistance. It has been a real
Holy Trinity Episcopal Church and Holy Trinity Lutheran
Church Volunteers at Kings Market in Verona vide in food challenge to keep the MEND pantry doors open and the
packages, and shelves stocked.
in some instances, reduce their hours of operation. Hous- By the grace of God, MEND will continue to pro-
es of worship that traditionally were donors are now vide food assistance to our most vulnerable citizens in
opening food pantries be- these trying times. With the newly-formed Board of
cause congregation families Trustees, we look forward to raising funds to support
that were once donors have the efforts of the 16 MEND pantries and develop pro-
been laid off or are facing grams to help our clients move toward self-sufficiency.
foreclosure and are strug- We have been very blessed to have the support of
gling to put food on the table. many houses of worship and community organizations
We desperately need dona- over the past thirty years. We thank you for all that you
tions from other sources like have done to make our work possible. We hope you
this [Action Against Hun- will continue to lend your support in any way you can. I
ger™] food drive.” promise that any contribution you make will be used to
Now that the drive is fill the plates and pantries of the hungry in Essex Coun-
over, tax-deductible dona- ty. Together we can help those who need it most and
tions may be made online at make an important difference.
or mailed to North Jersey With Gratitude,
Media Group Foundation, c/ Interfaith Food Pantry of the Oranges
Volunteers at Shop Rite in Springfield
o Legal Dept., P.O. Box 75,
Hackensack, NJ 07602-9192. MEND greatly appreci-
ates the work of the North Jersey Media Group Foun-
dation in this effort.
First Hopewell Baptist Church Food Pantry bring prepared food from home.
A Beacon of Hope Edwina estimates that the food pantry serves
about 266 families each month, including about 302
It is a beautiful fall morning and clients are lining adults and 129 children. Although the number of clients
up at the doors of the food pantry at First Hopewell Bap- has increased during the on-going economic downturn,
tist Church in Newark. Everyone appears to be in a good the increase has not been as large as might be expected.
mood – perhaps because of the weather, perhaps because Edwina thinks this is
they know they will be welcomed and assisted by the food because a nearby large
pantry staff, under the calm apartment complex in
and caring leadership of which many former
Ms. Edwina Hale. clients resided has
At 9 a.m., the doors closed, forcing the cli-
open and the staff begin to ents to find housing in
take names and direct cli- more distant areas.
ents to the appropriate sta- In addition to
tions for checking in and food supplies obtained
registering. After registra- from federal and state
tion and a determination as government programs,
Edwina is particularly Young worker at the pantry
to whether the client is eli-
gible for the federal or grateful to Shop Rite
Client, center, checking in Markets, which provides the pantry with an annual grant,
state program, the client is
directed to the distribution station to receive his or her and to MEND, for the supplies received as a result of the
food package. The process operates like a well-oiled ma- walks that it organizes and supports. In addition, First
chine, but clients are treated with respect. Ms. Evelyn Hopewell Baptist Church, its Women’s Guild, and its
Pickett, a client off and on for over 10 years, says, “I am pastor, Rev. Anthony Porter, provide much needed assis-
always treated very nice. They really help you out. I tance. During a recent shortage, Edwina asked Rev. Por-
have raised 5 grandkids, and these people have been a ter if she could place a request for canned food in the
great source of food. When in need, I can always come church bulletin; he responded she should actually address
over.” the congregation. She proposed that she would ask them
If any problems arise, they are directed to Ms. to bring in cans. He replied, “Don’t ask for cans, ask for
Hale who provides a quick resolution, reflecting her al- cases!” And the congregation responded with several
most two decades of experience at the pantry. She has cases! It is this kind of broad-based support that has giv-
worked with the pantry for almost all of its existence and en the pantry its longevity. Today, a member of the
watched its growth. As she says, “When I started, all of church’s board and a dea-
our records were in one file box, now there are almost con were on hand to help
twenty.” The file boxes contain the records of active cli- out, as were two teen age
ents only as records that are inactive for a year are re- church members.
moved annually. In addition to ac-
The food pantry operates knowledging support from
one day a week, on the church, Shop Rite, and
Wednesdays, when it is MEND, Edwina Hale
open from 9 a.m. until 12 wants to be sure that her co
p.m., although clients -workers receive credit..
must sign in by 11:20. They are Maria Saboya,
For convenience, the Rosa Ludivier, Gwendolyn
Ms. Hale with church deacon D.
church’s clothing minis- Murphy and trustee Wm. Bradley Johnson, Claudia Rouse,
try, which shares the fa- Doris Eatman, Sally
cility, is also open during Baker, Joyce Murphy, Sue Braxton, Martha Brown,
these hours. In addition, Laura Milligan, Jayson Johnson, and Bobby Freedman.
the church has a Saturday We thank them all for the work they are doing to feed the
Client receiving food package
feeding program, from hungry of Essex County.
noon until one, which offers a hot meal to all comers.
The meal is prepared at the church and by members who
Help a Family At Christmas Program
MEND is an interfaith network of donors and food pantries serving the needs of Essex County for over 30 years. Last
year this network served over 66,000 needy men, women, and children who were facing difficult times and were in need of emer-
gency food assistance and other support services.
While the collection and distribution of food to the pantries is the primary function of MEND, we also sponsor a unique
program at Christmas time called “Help a Family at Christmas.” This project started 24 years ago when we realized there would be
families who would not be celebrating any type of Christmas without some outside support. The Help a Family program was de-
signed to respond to this need and also provide the sponsor with a personal approach to giving.
Each year food pantry coordinators are asked to complete a client profile of five critically needy families (stating the first
names, ages, sizes, family situation, gifts they would like, etc. This information is then sent to the MEND office and matched with
an appropriate sponsor. The sponsor may be an individual, a school, a church, or a community or business group.
The sponsor is expected to provide grocery gift cards and two or three age appropriate gifts for each family member (a
$250 value for a family of four). The sponsor is then responsible for transporting the gifs to the food pantry.
Because of the personal selection process between the donor and the needy family, gifts and other items for the family are
selected with great care. One recipient commented, “What makes this a beautiful Christmas is not just the turkeys and wonderful
toys for my children, but knowing there are people who truly care about me—a neighbor in need. I will never forget such kind-
Participation in Help a Family can truly bring the generosity and spirit of Christmas to life for
donors. If you are interested and would like to take part in this special program, please call Meeting
Emergency Needs With Dignity at 973-266-7941, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or detach the form be-
low and return it to the address shown.
On behalf of those we serve, Thank You!
Help a Family at Christmas Sponsor Application
Please detach this form and mail it today. For information call 973-266-7941
City_______________________________ State_________________ ZIP______________________
[ ] Yes, I wish to help a family of [ ] 1 [ ] 2 [ ] 3 [ ] 4 [ ] 5 [ ] 6
[ ] I wish to make a contribution of $_________________
Please forward this form and your tax-deductible check (for cash contributions) to:
Meeting Emergency Needs With Dignity
37 Evergreen Place
East Orange, New Jersey, 07018
Can Children Learn if They Are Hungry?
By The Reverend Deacon Diane Riley
It is no surprise that with the economic downturn, hunger is on the rise. The recently released poverty data
by the U.S. Census Bureau reported that the poverty rate increased from 13.2% to 14.3% between 2008-2009 repre-
senting an additional 3.7 million people living in poverty. The child poverty rate of 20.7% was even more distress-
ing. There were 15.5 million kids living in poverty – 35.5% of the total 43.6 million people living in poverty were
children. What implications does this have for the future of our children? Can children grow up to be healthy adults
if they do not get enough food on a regular basis to thrive? Can children learn if they are hungry?
One of the most essential resources we have to feed children is the federally funded Child Nutrition Pro-
grams. This fall, Congress will have the opportunity to make vast improvements to these programs, including
School Breakfast and Lunch programs, Summer Food, Child and Adult Care Food and WIC (Supplemental Nutri-
tion Program for Women, Infants, and Children) so that more children in need will have access to healthy food at
home, at school and in the community, helping them learn and grow.
The critical link between childhood nutrition and healthy thriving adults was revealed when young men re-
jected in the World War II draft showed a connection between physical deficiencies and childhood malnutrition. In
response, Congress enacted the 1946 National School Lunch Act as a "measure of national security, to safeguard the
health and well-being of the Nation's children." Expanded over the years, the National School Lunch Program
(NSLP) now serves almost 31 million children daily, almost 19 million of whom receive their lunch free or at a re-
duced price. In 1975 the school breakfast program was added to assist schools in providing nutritious morning
meals to the nation's children.
Today, additional federal programs provide critical funding for meals and snacks before and after school,
and during the summer, when children are out of school but no less hungry. Unfortunately these programs do not
match the participation of the NSLP. Nationally, only 16 % of children who receive free or reduced-price lunch par-
ticipate in summer food, and 46% receive free or reduced-price breakfast. This problem is exacerbated in New Jer-
sey because of its dense population and wide economic disparity – depending on the area, the child poverty rate can
be between 3 and 26%. Here, less than 38% of eligible children receive free or reduced price breakfasts.
Those closest to the problem will tell you that the answer to the question, “Can children learn if they are
hungry?”, is No. Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, recently observed, “That
any child in America comes to school too hungry to learn is a travesty … Students’ performance is affected by fac-
tors inside and outside the classroom. Student Hunger is one of those outside the classroom problems. We must
find ways to make sure that all eligible students have access to nutritious food programs such as the school lunch
and breakfast programs.”
Improvements to these programs can translate into an increase in the number of children served. Changes
currently being reviewed by Congress include allowing healthier meals to be served, streamlined applications, and
continuity between programs. In addition, the use of alternative data that allows more children to access these pro-
grams especially in areas of high need such as Paterson, Jersey City, and Dover. These improvements long delayed
call for increased monetary investments in our children’s future. But what better way to “safeguard the well being
of all of our nation’s children”.
Visit the Food Research and Action Network website at www.frac.org for more specific information. Con-
sider calling your elected officials now to make your voice heard. Underfunding or funding Child Nutrition by
cutting other important hunger programs (a very real possibility) will affect how well we are able to feed our chil-
dren in the future. You have an opportunity to change the question and the answer. Are we doing all we can to help
our children learn? Let’s make that answer, YES!
Diane Riley is Deacon at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Dover and a member of the Justice Board of the Episcopal
Diocese of Newark.
The Prospect Presbyterian Model (Continued from page 1)
Successful Food Drives preparing the school backpacks for the children. They
thought of everything a child would need for their school
Since 2008 Prospect Presbyterian’s MEND-IEFN year. Ms. Lucas and the Women’s Group of First Presby-
ministry has conducted four progressively successful terian Church do an extraordinary job with this pro-
food drives for MEND pantries. The ministry has found ject .We are so blessed by their generosity and kind-
that practice makes perfect, and it has developed a model ness.”
The model for these successful drives begins
with the MEND-IEFN ministry selecting a three week Contribute Your Old Car to MEND
period for its food drive. On the first Sunday of the You can now contribute your old car to MEND and
agreed period, the ministry announces the drive to the receive a tax deduction!!
congregation and passes out 12 to 24 door hangers to MEND has entered into an agreement with Charitable
each congregation member. The members of the congre- Auto Resources Inc. (CARS) which will allow you to
gation are asked to deliver a door hanger to each of 12 to contribute your old cars to MEND.
24 of their neighbors and personally ask each neighbor MEND will soon have a toll free number manned by
to please help feed the hungry of Essex County. The CARS that persons wishing to donate cars can use to
door hangers are 5”x8” card stock hangers that describe have contributed cars picked up, usually within 48
the food drive and the recipient food pantries of MEND- hours. All needed documentation will be delivered to
IEFN. They also spell out the food drive dates and ask the person contributing the car at the time it is picked
each donor to provide food items from a list of “most up.
needed items” and state that Prospect Presbyterian con- Contributed cars need not be in operating condition
gregation members will return on the date of the last Sat- but MEND and CARS reserve the right to decline to
urday of the drive to pick up the donated food. After the accept cars that cannot be disposed of for enough to
first week, the MEND-IEFN ministry re-announces the cover the cost of acquiring them.
food drive to the congregation and encourages greater Further information, including the toll-free number
participation by all. After the second week, the ministry will be available in the next newsletter. Anyone wish-
again re-announces the drive and encourages all to help ing to make a contribution of a car prior to then may
with this last week of the drive. On that Sunday, the call the MEND office at 973-266-7941
MEND-IEFN ministry also reminds everyone that its MEND hopes you will find this program useful.
members will be at the church with a truck to collect all
donated food on the following Saturday morning, the last New website link makes donating cash a snap!
day of the drive. On that Saturday morning each church Just go to our website mendnj.org and click on the fol-
member picks up the donated items from their 12 to 24 lowing new link to make your donation to MEND.
neighbors and delivers them to the church to be handed
over to MEND-IEFN ministry members for delivery ulti-
mately to the pantries. This model has worked well for
Prospect Presbyterian and for our pantries.
In addition to its food drives, Prospect Presbyteri- PLEASE JOIN OUR EFFORT
an has given direct financial support to MEND, partici-
pated in the Walk to End Hunger, coordinated activities
MEND is a local non-profit food assistance network
at a supermarket for the Action Against Hunger Food
serving communities throughout Essex County. We
Drive, set up a booth and distributed MEND-IEFN print-
have many opportunities available for houses of wor-
ed balloons and Frisbees at the annual Maple Woodstock
ship, youth groups, schools, service organizations and
festival, collected backpacks for the Back to School Sup-
individuals to help those in need. For information,
ply Drive, and represented MEND-IEFN during the
Maplewood-South Orange CROP Walk.
MEND Central Office
We thank you Prospect Presbyterian!
37 Evergreen Place
East Orange, NJ 07018
If you or your church or group would like to con-
duct a food drive, the folks from Prospect Presbyterian (973) 266 7941
would be happy to discuss the details of their successful Fax #: (973) 675-6935
food drives and lend assistance to your efforts. Email: email@example.com
Meeting Emergency Needs With Dignity, Inc.
37 Evergreen Place
East Orange, New Jersey 07018
An interfaith anti-hunger TO:
coalition serving the needy for
nearly 30 years
Contact us at:
Advisory Board 2010
Jamie Anthony Anna Hooper Tina Scheid
Prospect Presbyterian Church Church of the Transfiguration Notre Dame Church
Maplewood Newark Caldwell
Helen Brooks Sister Linda Klaiss, S.S.J. Mildred Sifford
Blessed Sacrament Church St. Mary’s Church St. James Emergency Food Pantry
Newark Newark Newark
Julie Brooks Tracy Lassiter Alice Hoffman
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church Apostles’ House Holy Trinity Episcopal Church
East Orange Newark West Orange
Alison Bryant Lillie Love Bruce Turnbull
Church Women United Grace Reformed Church Bloomfield Presbyterian
Irvington Newark Church-on-the-Green
Edwina Hale LeWanda A. Pleasant
First Hopewell Baptist Church Bethel Church of Love & Praise F.P. Lawrence Purvis
Newark Bloomfield North Reformed Church
Nikki Hernez Sharon Reilly-Tobin
Trinity Reformed Church Emergency Food and Nutrition Network Winifred Waldron
Newark Catholic Charities Elizabeth Avenue Presbyterian Church
East Orange Newark
Interfaith Food Pantry of the Oranges