Center for Food Action Update – March 18, 2020

from Patricia Espy, Executive Director

Greetings.  I hope this finds you and your families well and that you remain safe for the duration of this difficult and stressful time.  It seems each hour brings new, often conflicting and confusing information.  As you must be, here at CFA, we’re all adjusting to the new normal. It is a fast-evolving situation and each day is bringing new challenges.

CFA’s mission is to help neighbors who are going through difficult times.  As our community is impacted by COVID-19, we want to share with you, our friends and supporters, what has been happening here at CFA and what our plans are to assist those who need help to put food on their tables.   We are positive that as people lose wages through reduced hours and furloughs from their jobs, the number of people needing help will increase.  To meet this challenge, we need your help.

Every day at CFA, we help hundreds of people, thanks in large part to our wonderful volunteers, a majority of our volunteer team are seniors, a high-risk group. Center for Food Action has always been a human-centric organization, providing the people we serve with face to face advocacy and caring interaction. Given the spread of COVID-19 and the new social distancing practices, we knew we had to make significant, and hopefully temporary, changes to our process. Using guidelines established by the CDC, individuals, and families at risk of hunger have been receiving emergency food packages via a curbside, grab and go system to safeguard our employees, volunteers and those coming for assistance. We’ve also been distributing extra Weekend Snack Packs to area schools and community groups to help ensure that children who get free school breakfasts and lunches have healthy snacks during this time.

Over the next few days, we will be reorganizing our workforce in ways that enable us to meet the growing demand for assistance, while doing our best to keep our volunteers, clients, and staff safe and healthy.  To ensure that we are ready to continue to serve those in need and be prepared for even more people coming for help, we will be temporarily closing our sites to all but a limited number of staff. We plan to re-open our doors on Wednesday, March 25, 2020. As we are all aware, this is a constantly evolving situation, and our plans will evolve in ways that best and most safely meet the need of those counting on us.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

If you would like to help, CFA is in urgent need of funds and grocery gift cards.  While we have always welcomed and relied on food donations from the community, we currently do not have enough staff and volunteers to process food donations.  Monetary gifts enable us to buy large quantities of the items we need most and eliminate the need to date, sort, and inspect food donations.  Hopefully, at the end of this crisis, we will be the recipient of the communities’ unused canned goods and paper products!

To make a donation of funds, please use the button below or make a gift by mail. Both checks and grocery gift cards should be mailed to: Center for Food Action, 192 W. Demarest Ave., Englewood, NJ 07631. Please note that mailed receipts will be slightly delayed due to the crisis.

If you are interested in donating your time and you are in good health and not in a high-risk group, please complete the volunteer application.

Donate Now!                         Volunteer

EVENT UPDATE:

CFA’s annual fundraiser, SAVOR.2020, has been postponed until the fall.  More details will be shared as soon as they are available.

IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW NEEDS ASSISTANCE:

While the situation is constantly evolving, CFA plans to begin making appointments for food assistance next week and will reopen our pantries on Wednesday, March 25th.  Our hours of operation are likely to be reduced. Please refer back to our website frequently for updates and locations.

Heating and Utility assistance is on hold until further notice as most utilities have agreed to postpone shut-offs for several weeks.

INFORMATION FOR SCHOOLS, FEEDING PROGRAMS & ORGANIZATIONS

Limited numbers of Weekend Snack Packs are still available to programs feeding low-income children. Please contact us to learn if CFA can support your efforts. LoriOliff@cfanj.org

This week Weekend Snack Packs were distributed to:

The feeding site at Robert L Craig Elementary School in Moonachie for their grab-and-go program.
The City of Englewood, where Park rangers and staff distributed to students at Rock Creek Terrace, King Garden, Park View Terrace, and Westmore Housing who have no transportation to the Middle School for breakfast and lunch.
YCS George Washington School in Hackensack where social workers are delivering snack packs and apples to student’s homes.
Greater Bergen Head Start Programs who are distributing Snack packs to the Bergenfield, Hackensack, and Cliffside Park programs.