May 18, 2020
New Jersey’s First Lady, Mrs. Tammy Murphy, volunteered as part of CFA’s Englewood Food Distribution team on Monday, May 18th. The First Lady helped package food and distribute those packages and boxes of non-perishables to 75 households who visited CFA. The 4,000 meals distributed on Monday, are part of the 50,000 meals or more, CFA distributes each week from five area pantries in Englewood, Hackensack, Mahwah, Ringwood, and Saddle Brook.
May 5, 2020
A message from CFA’s Executive Director, Patricia Espy
So much has changed since early March, which now seems a lifetime ago. I never could have imagined a time when Center for Food Action required clients to wait in their vehicles, while staff and volunteers put food into their trunks. Who would have thought we’d ask people, who had walked to our sites, to stand back until the food was placed in their cart? It’s unbelievable that our welcoming smiles must be hidden behind masks.
So, while we have had to change our approach, our mission remains the same – getting food to people who need it. And that is exactly what we are doing. As I write this, CFA has already provided 3,000 households – 8,400 people with food during this crisis. As many of our neighbors exhaust their savings, have their hours reduced, or lose their jobs, CFA is making sure they do not also go hungry. For the elderly, those with weakened immune systems, and those in quarantine, we are delivering to their doorsteps.
CFA has an incredible team of employees and volunteers working on the front line of this pandemic, making sure people have access to food and other resources. We know the need will only increase in the weeks and months to come.
Your help allows us to continue our vital work and goes a long way in making sure folks don’t go hungry.
May 1, 2020
Center for Food Action, together with community partners extends food distribution beyond area pantries.
During this pandemic, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people who need food assistance. The growing number of people who have lost work, wages, or benefits is compounded by the number of seniors and homebound, unable to leave home to shop for food or visit food pantries. Together with the Bergen County Sheriff’s Department and LogistiCare, CFA has begun offering emergency food package delivery to Seniors and the homebound in Bergen County and Upper Passaic County.
In addition, working with community partners, CFA has delivered hundreds of emergency food packages to low-income areas in great need of support.
- In Englewood, CFA delivered emergency food boxes to Housing Authority buildings where building staff distributed them to low-income senior residents.
- Working with Head Start, CFA delivered emergency food boxes to be distributed in Hackensack, Cliffside Park, and Bergenfield.
- In Moonachie, CFA delivered emergency food boxes along with eggs, potatoes, onions, and margarine for staff on-site to distribute to families at Vanguard and Metropolitan mobile home parks.
If you, or someone you know, live in Bergen County or Upper Passaic County and are in need of emergency food assistance, please use this link to request an appointment.
April 17, 2020
Center for Food Action, The Community FoodBank of New Jersey, Bergen Volunteers, and Bergen County Executive’s Office joined forces on the Hackensack campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University this week to pack food for the county’s hungry.
The Community FoodBank of New Jersey (CFBNJ) joined with Center for Food Action (CFA) delivering 75,000 pounds of non-perishable items packed into family-size boxes by Bergen County Law Enforcement officers from the sheriff’s department and the county prosecutor’s office. Together they created 1,800 emergency food packages that will be distributed over the next few weeks by several local food pantries, including CFA.
“One of the most challenging parts providing food during the pandemic is the ability to package it for our clients,” said Patricia Espy, Executive Director of Center for Food Action. “Social distancing policies and the lack of volunteers in our pantries, has led to some creative solutions. This event will enable us to provide for the communities we serve for a month.”
April 10, 2020
Weekend Snack Packs are helping fight childhood hunger far from the backpack
CFA has been working with numerous community groups, agencies and schools to utilize Weekend Snack Packs to give children a little extra when school is out.
- Charles R Smith Early Childhood Center, Palisade Park- Feeding site (100)
- Lindbergh Elementary School, Palisade Park – Feeding site- (360)
- YCS George Washington School, Hackensack –Staff delivering to students’ homes (200 + apples)
- Robert L Craig Elementary School, Moonachie – Feeding site (660)
- Head Start Program in Bergenfield, Hackensack and Cliffside Park provides free early childhood education and family services (400 and produce)
- Never Alone Again Resource Center, Teaneck – provides services to families of domestic violence and abuse (370)
- Rock Creek Terr, King Garden, Park View Terrace, and Westmore Housing in Englewood – City Hall staff and park rangers are distributing to students who have no transportation (800)
- CFA sites including Englewood, Mahwah, Hackensack, Ringwood and Saddle Brook include a snack pack in all Emergency Food Boxes
- Meadowlands YMCA – Emergency Child Care Program for children of health care works, first responders and essential works (100)
- Teaneck High School, Teaneck – Feeding site includes students from Teaneck Early Learning Center, Bryant Elementary School, Whittier Elementary School, Hawthorne Middle School, Thomas Jefferson Middle School (360)
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 Coordinator, Lori Oliff, coordinated 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-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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.