How You Can Help
MAKE A DIFFERENCE WITH MEND!
Here are some of the programs you can support:
Help a Family At Christmas and the Holidays Program
While the collection and distribution of food to the pantries is the primary function of MEND, we also sponsor a unique program at Christmas and during the Holidays called “Help a Family at Christmas.” This project started 25 years ago when we realized there would be families who would not be celebrating any type of Christmas or other Holiday celebration without some outside support. The Help a Family program was designed 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 kindness.”
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 Essential Needs With Dignity at: 973-266-7941 or email us at: info@MENDNJ.org. Click here for more information.
- Contact us Sharon Tobin at MEND’s Central Office (973-266-7966) to inform us of your interest
- Designate a 2-3 week period for the collection of food
- Designate a contact person in your group to answer any questions & make arrangements for the food drive
- One month prior to the drive:
- Start advertising & send notices via email
- Have poster made with collection dates, location of collection bins or collection points and where the donated food is going: MEND. Position the posters in common and high traffic areas.
- Make copies of the “items most needed” and distribute to interested participants Call MEND Central Office and schedule a pickup date/time for donated items at the end of the drive.
- Keep any cash donations or grocery cards in a safe area
- Send a final reminder notice to announce the last day for food collection
- Arrange for volunteers to assist the MEND driver when he arrives to pickup donations (confirm pickup with MEND)
- Follow-up after the drive – Call MEND to get the result of how many pound of food collected, how many meals were furnished and how many people were fed
- LET VOLUNTEERS AND DONORS KNOW THE RESULTS – THEY NEED TO KNOW THEY MADE A DIFFERENCE TO INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES IN ESSEX COUNTY
HUNGER DOESN’T TAKE A VACATION
For many families the summer months are filled with fun, vacations and relaxing activities. Unfortunately for many of those we serve through the 18 MEND pantries, summertime means increased hardship. Many of the families we assist depend on the school lunch and breakfast programs to help fill their children’s nutritional needs. Having to provide three meals a day for hungry children places an even bigger demand on very limited resources. Pantries are hard pressed to feed the increased number of families coming for help.
At the same time donations to the MEND network drop off or stop completely during the summer months. This year has been especially difficult with a 30 % drop in donations.
YOU can make an important difference by sponsoring a food drive at your house of worship anytime during June, July and August. Consider collecting food at your block party, children’s summer camp, swim team or recreational program. MEND has a van and driver available to pick up the donation as well as promotional materials for the drive.
Here is a list of most needed items:
Cereal – Hot and Cold
Canned Fruit (Regular & Low-Sugar)
Dry Beans, Brown Rice, Pasta
Canned Meals (Spaghetti, Chili, Hash, Stew, etc)
Protein Supplement Drinks (Ensure, etc)
Baby Food & Formula
Peanut Butter & Jelly
Milk (Powdered & Parmalat)
Soup (Canned & Dry)
Canned Meats (Tuna, Spam, Chicken, etc)
Right now our shelves are empty. Any assistance you can provide will be most appreciated. For further information, call (973)266-7941. Thank you.
HUNGER DOESN’T TAKE A VACATION (click to open pdf form)
_____Yes, We will sponsor a HUNGER DOESN’T TAKE A VACATION food drive for MEND on_____________________________. We will call for a pick up two weeks before the drive.
_____Yes, We will make a tax-deductible monetary donation to MEND for the purchase of food supplies.
Please mail or fax this to:
MEND, 37 Evergreen Place
East Orange, N. J. 07018
Fax # (973)675-6935
On behalf of the vulnerable families we serve, THANK YOU