Back in mid-March when it became clear the Covid-19 Pandemic would have a devastating impact on the communities served by Mercer Street Friends, the organization determined that Food Bank programs and operations would require immediate expansion. Since then, hundreds of individuals, private foundations, and businesses have stepped forward with financial and volunteer support to lend a hand in making and distributing emergency weekend meal bags in Trenton and the surrounding community. Within the first few days of the crisis, Mercer Street Friends was the beneficiary of extraordinary financial and facility support from Princeton Area Community Foundation, NJM Insurance Group, Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation, and Wegmans Food Markets.

On Friday, April 24, 2020, Mercer Street Friends, in partnership with Capital Area YMCA, distributed weekend Emergency Food Bags. Since March 16, 2020, Mercer Street Friends has distributed over 5,000 weekend Emergency Food Bags, totaling 80,000 meals made possible through the organization’s supporters including individuals, families, businesses, foundations, and corporations.

With tremendous support from nearly 1,000 donors over the past several weeks, Mercer Street Friends highlights groups of individuals, families, businesses and foundations who have provided contributions, ensuring that all who have invested in Mercer Street Friends know their gifts have had an incredible impact on the community.

On April 15, UIH Family Partners Healthy Relationships Healthy Choices (HRHC) Leadership Program delivered emergency food bags to 35 Trenton families along with VISA Debit Cards with support from Isles, who provided a van to carry the bags of food. Also, on Thursday, April 9, Mercer Street Friends, in partnership with the Trenton School District and Aramark, hosted its fourth week of distributing emergency food bags to families in Trenton.

With lines of people formed an hour before the bags were ready to be handed out, the need was clear as over 1,000 bags were offered that week. At six distribution sites throughout the city, individuals and families seeking food for the weekend were greeted by staff and volunteers, including Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora who handed out bags at Trenton Central High School.

The philanthropic community continues to respond to the incredible need that has emerged in light of the COVID-19 pandemic as the individuals, foundations, small businesses, and corporations have offered emergency funds dedicated to supporting food insecurity initiatives.

To join others in making a gift to Mercer Street Friends, please visit www.mercerstreetfriends.org and click “Donate Now.” For those who would like to volunteer to assemble or distribute emergency food bags, please call Sherries Anderson at 609-278-5546 or email sanderson@mercerstreetfriends.org.