On Sunday, March 21 the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK) and NJ Rise Pantry and Thrift Store will host a drive-thru food distribution to provide 100,000 lbs. of groceries to approximately 1,500 families from the greater Mercer County area.

The distribution will take place in the Modway parking lot, located at 329 Wyckoff Mills Road in East Windsor, NJ. The event is scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. Food will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Each family will receive more than 60 pounds of groceries including milk and juice; fish and poultry; paper towels; and a variety of fresh produce. The event will follow CDC and State guidelines for social distancing: families will remain in their vehicles to drive through the contact-free distribution line to collect a variety of fresh and packaged foods.

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, both nonprofits have seen a significant increase in food insecurity and need throughout the Mercer County area. Rise has noted a 300 percent increase in food pantry visits, topping over 1,000 visits each month. Meanwhile, TASK is serving approximately 10,000 meals each week – roughly an 80% increase in meal production over the same period last year. Since the beginning of the pandemic, TASK has provided more than 400,000 meals at its main location and 16 community meal sites throughout the county.

The two long-time collaborators worked together this past October to pull off a similar event in Hightstown. Over the course of the day, TASK supplied 65,000 pounds of food and Rise provided the means to deliver it to the roughly 1,200 families that attended.

“Soup kitchens, food pantries, food banks – we’re all seeing the same things,” said TASK Executive Director Joyce E. Campbell. “While things are tough in the cities, the suburbs and rural communities are also struggling. TASK wants to further its mission and help those people, too.”

“Since the onset of the pandemic, Rise has pivoted to the safe collection and distribution of foods, personal products, PPE and cleaning supplies in order to help hundreds of our neighbors each week,” said Leslie Koppel, Rise Executive

Director. “This will be our 11th drive-through, and we are delighted to partner with TASK in order to reach more families.”

Rise, founded in 1967, strives to be the hub of social support services in eastern Mercer County, building a productive, cohesive environment where families thrive and feel valued, safe, and optimistic about their future. In addition to the Rise Pantry, Rise also operates the social-enterprise Rise Thrift Store and the Rise Academic Enrichment Summer Camp.

TASK, which has been serving the Mercer County region since 1982, operates the only week-day soup kitchen in Trenton. In addition to providing hot and nutritious meals, TASK offers a multitude of resources to encourage self-sufficiency and improve quality of life including social services, its Adult Education and Work Preparedness program, enrichment opportunities in the creative arts, and the provision of basic necessities.

For more information, contact TASK Director of Development & Marketing, Michelle Wexler, at (609) 695-5456 x117 or michellew@trentonsoupkitchen.org.

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