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COVID-19 UPDATES

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Help CFA Meet the Increased Need With a Gift of Funds

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Resources & Information

Do you need a job?

Businesses across New Jersey need thousands of workers for immediate hire. Learn more about who is hiring in your community: https://jobs.covid19.nj.gov/

 Have you lost your job or work hours been reduced?

If you have lost your job, your work hours have been reduced, or your place of work has closed you may qualify for unemployment insurance. Please download the COVID-19 Scenarios & Benefits Flier from the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development and visit the following website for more information: https://myunemployment.nj.gov/

 Has your job been impacted?

New Jersey has among the most comprehensive Earned Sick Leave, Temporary Disability, and Family Leave Insurance laws in the country, which cover all employees – full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal. Please download the COVID-19 Scenarios & Benefits Flier from the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development and visit the following website for more information: https://www.nj.gov/labor/worker-protections/earnedsick/covid.shtml

If you and/or your family own a business

The New Jersey Business Action Center has compiled information on guidance and economic assistance for businesses:  https://faq.business.nj.gov/en/collections/2198378-information-for-nj-businesses-on-the-coronavirus-outbreak

 If you need food or financial assistance

If you and/or your family are in need of food or financial assistance, you may be eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), and/or General Assistance (GA): https://www.njhelps.org/

If you need help paying home energy bills

The Home Energy Assistance Program helps very low-income residents with their heating and cooling bills, and makes provisions for emergency heating system services and emergency fuel assistance within the Home Energy Assistance Program: https://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dhcr/offices/hea.html

If you need help paying the rent

The State Rental Assistance Program provides rental assistance grants. To get more information and determine your eligibility, visit: https://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dhcr/offices/srap.html

If you are caring for family members with special needs

The New Jersey Department of Human Services has guidance for individuals and families caring for people with developmental disabilities: https://nj.gov/humanservices/coronavirus.html

Learn What the Coronavirus Response Act Means For You : Coronavirus Response Act

Learn more about the Novel Coronavirus, COVID-2019: https://www.nj.gov/education/topics/

Stuck at home? Here is a list of virtual tours:  Zoos, Museums and Landmarks Online Tours

Our Friends at BoozyBurbs.com have compiled a list of area restaurants that offer curbside pickup or delivery.

Check out this useful article from Real Simple: The Smartest Way to Store Foods in the Refrigerator for Long-Lasting Freshness

Hunger Free New Jersey

March 31, 2020

Weekend Snack Packs Distributed to Thousands of Area Children

When Bergen County schools are closed, CFA’s Weekend Snack Pack helps fight hunger. Over the past three weeks Weekend Snack Pack Coorinator, Lori Oliff, cooridinated the distribution of thousands of snack packs to:

  • Charles R Smith Early Childhood Center, Palisade Park
  • Lindbergh Elementary School, Palisade Park
  • YCS George Washington School, Hackensack, whose staff are delivering the packs to students’ homes
  • Robert L Craig Elementary School, Moonachie
  • Head Start Program in Bergenfield, Hackensack and Cliffside Park
  • Never Alone Again Resource Center, Teaneck
  • Rock Creek Terrace, King Garden, Park View Terrace, and Westmore Housing in Englewood – City Hall staff and park rangers are distributing to students who have no transportation
CFA Adjusts Hours and Relaxes Frequency Rules as Part of COVID-19 Response

Beginning April 6, 2020 those in need may make an appointent for food assistance once every 2 weeks, instead of once a month.  This change is in direct response to the need we see in the communities we serve.  Families and individuals in need of food assistance should contact CFA by phone to make an appointment.  Additionally, CFA is adjusting hours beginning April 6, 2020 in the Englewood and Hackensack pantries as follows:

Englewood: Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 11am-1pm, Tuesday and Thursday 10am-12pm
Hackensack:  Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 10am-12pm, Tuesday and Thursday 11am-1pm

March 30, 2020

CFA’s Mahwah and Ringwood pantries have reopened, on a reduced schedule, to assist residents of northern Bergen County and Upper Passaic County.  Both sites have adopted new procedures to follow social distancing guidelines.

March 25, 2020

Center for Food Action Resumes Food Assistance as More Families Seek Aid

Despite the cold and dreary day, cars arrived at CFA locations and left with food, smiles and friendly, socially-distant waves.  In Englewood, Hackensack and Saddle Brook, Center for Food Action resumed distribution, on a reduced schedule, to help residents of Bergen County and Upper Passaic County needing help to put food on their tables during the COVID-19 crisis.

“The impact of the pandemic has created unique challenges to organizations like ours,” said Patricia Espy, CFA Executive Director, “normally we have many volunteers packing groceries for thousands of low-income residents each month. We’re now distributing food via Drive-up, Appointment Only distributions in order to continue to serve low-income families and individuals throughout our community at a time when they need it the most.”

Today’s families received meat, eggs, cheese, fresh produce, toilet paper and thanks to Community Food Bank of New Jersey a box containing canned goods and non-perishable items designed to create forty meals.

CFA has been providing emergency food assistance for forty-four years and has always relied upon the support of our volunteers and the community. In response to the Coronavirus, CFA has implemented several new procedures to drastically reduces personal contact.

“We can no longer accept food donations because we have too few volunteers to sort and date the items.” explains Espy, “what we really need are donations of funds and supermarket gift cards.  Funds allow us to purchase large quantities of food, requiring no sorting or dating, and that means we can focus our resources on getting food to the people who need it most.”

March 23, 2020

Center for Food Action Distributing Food to Those In Need With Help From Our Community and Community Food Bank of New Jersey

While much of Bergen County is staying home to help “flatten the curve,” Center for Food Action is preparing for this week’s food distribution to area families and individuals in need. The Community Food Bank of New Jersey and CFA donors are helping to make this possible.

“We are so grateful to our partner agency the Community Food Bank of New Jersey,” said Patricia Espy, CFA Executive Director, “the boxes will be distributed by appointment to low-income families and individuals throughout Bergen County at a time when they need it the most.

CFA has been providing emergency food assistance for forty-four years and has always relied upon the support of our volunteers and the community. In response to the Coronavirus, CFA has created a new distribution plan, which drastically reduces personal contact. Three of the organization’s six pantries will be open this week, with reduced hours, to provide emergency food to hundreds of families.

“Our goal was to develop what we think is a reasonable immediate response to the crisis, which will, hopefully, provide as much protection as possible for employees, volunteers, and clients while focusing our efforts on providing emergency food to those in need.  We anticipate the number of people will increase as more people find themselves working reduced hours or out of work, and if working needing to cover additional childcare costs since schools are closed.”

CFA is among several essential services that remain open as part of New Jersey’s COVID-19 response.

March 19, 2020

Center for Food Action Pantries remain closed as a streamlined process is put in place to enable us to help more people with fewer staff and limited volunteers.

March 18, 2020

After a busy few days, distributing Weekend Snack Packs to area schools and community services to help children missing free school breakfasts and lunch, and providing emergency food packages to as many of our clients as possible, CFA has closed all pantries until Wednesday, March 25, 2020.

We decided to temporarily close our doors to realign operational and distribution points in direct response to the COVID-19 crisis. Every day at CFA, we help hundreds of people with the help of many volunteers. The majority of our volunteer team are seniors, a high-risk group.  At the same time, 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.  In the next few days, we will reorganize our workforce in a way that enables us to meet the growing demand for assistance, while keeping our volunteers, clients and staff safe and healthy.

As we are all aware, things are changing quickly, and our plans will be flexible and evolving to meet the need.

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 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!

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.

Checks and grocery gift cards are gratefully accepted by mail.  Please indicate the value of the gift card and mail to: Center for Food Action, 192 W. Demarest Ave., Englewood, NJ 07631.  Please note that mailed receipts will be slightly delayed due to staffing.

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.

March 15, 2020

Center for Food Action is working hard to meet the urgent and increased demand for our services in the community during the COVID-19 crisis.

In addition to serving our existing clients, CFA will be working with several school districts to help distribute Weekend Snack Packs to low-income children who otherwise have limited access to meals lost when school is not in session. If you are a school or community site interested in distributing weekend snack packs, please contact LOliff@cfanj.org.

Over the past two days we have learned about several local senior centers in urgent need of food donations and we are working with their executives to deliver food as soon as possible. To report a urgent need please contact us at inquiry@cfanj.org.

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

Donate Funds – The most immediate way to help is with a monetary gift, which will enable us to purchase and rescue food and get it to those in need quickly.

Donate Food – If you wish to donate food, please drop off canned goods and other non-perishables at your local CFA pantry during their hours of operation.  Please do not leave food outside of CFA when pantries are closed. Center locations and hours are posted here.

Volunteer – If you wish to donate some of your time during this crisis, please complete the CFA volunteer application.

We are so grateful for the donations you’ve made over the past few days, as always, when there is a need, our community is ready to help.

March 5, 2020

A Message to CFA Staff and Volunteers

The work you do is critically important to the families and individuals we serve.  With world events being what they are, it is a good time to remind each of us of our role in maintaining a safe and healthy work environment.

  1. First and foremost, if you are sick with a virus or flu, please contact your supervisor or Pantry Manager and STAY HOME.  Yes, we rely on you to help the community, and you will be missed while you recover, but let’s keep everyone safe. Symptoms of the new Coronavirus include many cold and flu-like symptoms, such as respiratory distress, fever and headache. If you are running a fever, you should not be working.
  2. Medical experts advise that the key to protecting yourself from the flu or a virus, is to wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds, covering your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, or your elbow.  CFA is ordering more hand sanitizer, tissues, disposable gloves and disinfecting wipes to have on hand for your use.
  3. Avoid sharing pens and avoid asking our clients to share pens.  CFA is ordering additional pens for client use in all centers. Encourage each client to take home the pen they used. If they don’t, please discard it.
  4. Center for Food Action has ordered more cleaning and sanitation supplies to help clean our workspaces and pantries more frequently. We are asking that all work areas, public areas, phones and doorknobs be wiped down with disinfectant wipes at the end of the day, or of course, after exposure to someone who may have the flu or other illness.

The CDC is now urging businesses to vigorously and routinely wipe down their workplace surfaces to contain the spread of any virus. Leave disinfectant sprays on the surface for at least 10 seconds before you wipe it down.

Wipe everything down with a fresh wipe or cloth. That includes your mouse, keyboard, and entire desk chair. Don’t forget to use the one-way wipe method. (Always wipe in one direction and don’t go back over it in the opposite direction!  You will deposit the germs you just cleaned up).

We are counting on each of you to help keep all of us as healthy as possible.

New Jersey has launched a 24/7 public hotline if you have any questions: 1-800-222-1222.

The new normal shouldn’t be normal.  As more and more of your neighbors find themselves out of work, they will turn to CFA for help.  Your gifts of funds and grocery cards are urgently needed.
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