Hunger Ministry in the time of COVID-19 – survey and results

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The NYTimes reported mile-long food lines in NJ

On April 30, the NYTimes reported on Food Lines a Mile Long in America’s Second-Wealthiest State. What is your congregation doing to address hunger needs in your community? Take the survey.

Since the survey was first sent out on April 23, eleven congregations  (Allentown, Belmar, Bordentown, Brick, Cranbury, Englishtown, Jacksonville, Lincroft, Matawan, Plumsted, and Shrewsbury) have completed the survey. Their answers are inspiring and demonstrate the energy, imagination, and love they have shown to minister in new ways to poor and hungry people during this difficult time. For example,

  • “We have been blessed with volunteers and donations to continue support during these times. Thank God!” (Allentown)
  • Monthly mission meals prepared by the congregation to deliver to area motels has been replace by compiling and delivering bags of food; and they are preparing a document to outline how they’ve addressed social distancing and other considerations when preparing and delivering the food. (Bordentown).
  • “I treasure the selfless contributions from the congregants at a time when food is hard to find in grocery stores, and the financial contributions for those who don’t have time to shop for necessary and hard to find items.” (Brick)
  • “Food pantry transformed in major ways,” 1) since they can’t buy food in bulk they circulate a google spreadsheet on what’s needed; individual shoppers donate what’s needed; most don’t submit receipts for reimbursement; fresh veggies in 5 lb. bags by Farmers Against Hunger; 2) repacked bags of essential items are put in people’s trunks/cars in a drive-thru system. (Cranbury)
  • “Last Sunday we put up a tent in front of our church and (with cautious social distancing) handed out bags of non-perishable food. Our local food pantry is closed, so there is a need. Also gave away 35 simple take-out meals.” (Englishtown)
  • “Have instituted a no contact ‘Door Step’ food drive. On Tuesday members indicate that they have food (shelf-stable) on their doorstep. Deacons pick it up and on Wednesday transport to the Eatontown Food Coop for distribution that day.” (Shrewsbury)

Following are the results as of May 7, 2020:

  • 10 congregations have their own hunger ministry; 4 participate in community/interfaith programs that include St. Mary’s Food Pantry in Bordentown, Christian Caring Center in Browns Mills, Calico Cat in Middletown, Eatontown Food Coop.
  • 2 have continued regular scheduled times; others are providing emergency supplies
  • 2 support a homeless ministry which continues during the pandemic (Homefront in Trenton and the Christian Caring Center in Browns Mills)
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1 Comment

  1. Brick Presbyterian Church has maintained a food pantry throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been giving boxes of food to those in need or those referred to us through the school system and social services in the community. The issue has been to get the food from the grocery stores, which so often have had empty shelves. Congregants have been generous with funds so we have been able to give gift certificates to the grocery stores, to those willing to help and those able to shop.

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