Planet Princeton

Outpouring of Support for Crisis Ministry Means Food and Services for the Holidays and Beyond

Crisis Ministry up and running at the former Bethany Presbyterian Church in Trenton.

The Crisis Ministry of Princeton and Trenton has received an outpouring of support from residents, congregations and other nonprofits across Mercer County and beyond that has enabled the agency to continue providing food, toiletries and other services to those in need.

On Wednesday, the Crisis Ministry began serving homelessness prevention clients for the first time since early Friday morning, when a fire rendered its 123 and 121 E. Hanover St. locations in downtown Trenton  unusable.

“We are grateful for all of your help and encouragement,” wrote Crisis Ministry Executive Director Carolyn Biondi in an update about the fire recovery efforts. “The filled shelves in our makeshift space at 117 E. Hanover St. are a testament to the diverse array of places and people who held food drives in the last week.”

Local residents, churches and synagogues, schools, businesses and other nonprofits have rallied to help the agency that is a lifeline to hundreds of area residents, including families, the unemployed and shut-ins.

Some of the organizations that have helped include McCarter Theatre, through donations at its student matinees of A Christmas Carol, the Grounds for Sculpture, the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, Catholic Charities, Anchor House, and the Helping Hands Food Pantry in New Egypt, which sent cases of canned vegetables to Crisis Ministry.

Schools like St. Ann’s School in Lawrence and Littlebrook in Princeton have collected bags of groceries, and residents have also used neighborhood holiday parties as an opportunity to collect canned food. Some organizations like the Montgomery Township Recreation Department have food drives scheduled. And PJ’s Pancake House volunteered to serve as a food drop-off location.

“Individuals and  congregation members across central New Jersey and all over the East Coast have been generous with contributions that will help us to rebuild and to continue serving families who are food-insecure or experiencing housing instability,” Biondi said. “Temporary drop-off locations and expanded use of our pilot pantry in Trenton are helping us to continue serving our neighbors who are in need.”

In Princeton, food and personal products donations can be dropped off weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  in the basement common room of Nassau Presbyterian Church. PJ’s Pancake House is also accepting donations of food and toiletries during business hours. Dan Bauer, of McCarter Theatre, is shuttling food from PJ’s to Nassau Presbyterian.

In Lawrence, food and personal products donations can be dropped off weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceville, located at Gordon Ave. and Route 206.

In Trenton, the Crisis Ministry is operating its satellite pantry at the former Bethany Presbyterian Church at 400 Hamilton Ave. from 9a.m. to noon. Led by the agency’s food services director, Mark Smith, staff and volunteers are working to increase capacity at that location, Biondi said.

For more information about Crisis Ministry or to make a monetary donation, visit thecrisisministry.org.

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

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