Source: Essex News Daily
Crates were filled to the brim with peanut butter, bags of rice, cereal and other grocery items for the Meeting Essential Needs with Dignity (MEND) food drive in front of Maplewood Memorial Library on Baker Street last week.
The food drive was sponsored by the Maplewood Chamber of Commerce, with major support from the South Orange nonprofit organization JESPY House. MEND has been working harder than ever to secure food donations for local food banks to address the tremendous food insecurity in the local area brought on by the pandemic.
Leading up to the food drive, monetary support and items were donated by JESPY board members, staff, clients and supporters, as well as members of the Academy Heights Neighborhood Association of South Orange. The overwhelming amount of donations were enough to aptly fill MEND’s food drive van, affectionately known as “The Sweet Pea.”
JESPY House community relations supervisor Tara Roberts has led the charge for all of JESPY’s MEND-releated food drives. “It was a pleasure filling the Sweet Pea with these incredible food donations,” Roberts said.
JESPY House, which services adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities between the ages of 18 and 73, has participated in several MEND and Our Lady of Sorrows food drives since March.
“JESPY has been part of the South Orange–Maplewood community for 42 years. We appreciate all the support we receive from the community, and view this as an opportunity to give back at a time when others truly need this support.”
“It’s nice to help other people,” said longtime JESPY client Virginia F., who eagerly volunteered to participate in the Dec. 16 outing. “You have to think of people who don’t have anything. Some people don’t have a meal to put on the table. It’s the holidays. I enjoy helping out.”
To learn how you can lend support to future JESPY food drive collections, send an email to t roberts @ jespy. org.