Hunger is an issue which impacts thousands of Americans each year. Researchers found that in 2022, 44.2 million households throughout the United States expressed difficulty in acquiring enough food to feed their family. In the wake of the pandemic, families throughout the country have had to endure unprecedented levels of economic uncertainty, leaving many questioning where their next meal is going to come from. However, thanks to the team at Mercer Street Friends, hunger is now on its way to being history in Mercer County.

On Wednesday, December 13th, visitors gathered at the Starbucks Community Store in Downtown Trenton to help send hunger packing. The Send Hunger Packing initiative, supported by partners like Starbucks, Feeding America, and the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, plays a key role in assuring our community’s youth are happy, healthy, and full all year round. One by one, guests lined up to lend a helping hand by putting together meal bags for recipients throughout the Mercer County region. The bustling cafe was transformed to an assembly line, with dozens of guests lined up eager to do their part. A heartfelt display of service, this event was a wonderful reminder of what the holiday season is really about.

The Send Hunger Packing (SHUP) program arose after Mercer Street Friends identified a need for weekend meal services for Trenton’s youth. Many students in our community rely on school-provided meals to meet their nutritional needs, but when school lets out for the weekend, they may not otherwise have access to readily available food. The SHUP program allows students to take home a meal bag equipped with four meals to help bridge the gap over the weekend. To date, the SHUP program has distributed over 60,000 meal bags to students at over 30 sites in the community, helping to assure that more of Trenton’s students can stay nourished all weekend long.

This program is brought to the community by Mercer Street Friends, a non-sectarian 501(3)c non-profit organization devoted to uplifting and supporting members of our community struggling with economic uncertainty. Recognizing the importance of these critical resources, Mercer Street Friends provides nourishment, education, and enrichment to hundreds of individuals across the Mercer County region each year. Through the support of hundreds of businesses, organizations, and individuals like you, Mercer Street Friends is empowered to provide crucial services to our community’s most vulnerable residents. Beyond just a food bank, Mercer Street Friends plays an integral role in assuring local families have access to the tools needed to help overcome poverty and its lasting effects.

For more information on the Send Hunger Packing initiative, please visit the Mercer Street Friends website, linked here: SHUP – Home. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about how you can get involved in the important work of Mercer Street Friends, please contact the MSF team at 609-396-1506 or for additional assistance. Amazing things can happen when we band together as a community, and together, we can all play a part in sending hunger packing for good. 

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