Coronavirus Changes IFPO Operations
IFPO Leaders Working Tirelessly to Help Community in Need
May 13-- The Community FoodBank of New Jersey delivered 3,800 pounds of food plus diapers, food boxes for our diabetes program clients, feminine hygiene products, and diapers to our temporary local this morning. A sourced produce delivery soon arrived and was packed by volunteers. This afternoon, 12 volunteer teams (who made informational client calls in multiple languages yesterday) will pick up food, produce and diapers, wipes and diaper cream and fan out across Orange and East Orange for contactless deliveries to our diaper clients.
May 7-- Today Jodi got almost 5,000 pounds of food loaded into a Uhaul at The Community FoodBank of New Jersey to bring to the IFPO's new satellite location. Thank you to CFB's Denyelle, our customer engagement representative, and everyone at the CFB who is working so hard to make this possible. We are grateful to the teams of volunteers who, while socially distancing, helped unload, restock and make food bags there. Lots of deliveries to be made to our diaper families and diabetes clients this coming week.
May 1, 2020- IFPO Opens Temporary Space! We are beyond thrilled to announce that we have leased a new physical space in Orange to utilize for the next two months! Thanks to our amazing partner HANDS, this space is ours to use rent-free until the end of June. We now have a secure, convenient location to temporarily store food, diapers and supplies. We will also use this space to pack food, produce and diapers in a socially distanced manner, so that we can then distribute these essential items to those in need in Orange and East Orange.
Thank you to the City of Orange for working with us to ensure that we quickly got the inspections and permits necessary to start using this space immediately, and to the Community FoodBank (CFB) for expeditiously approving it as an authorized pantry space.
This alarmed location will not be client accessible, but will be used by the IFPO as "back space" temporarily to enable us to continue our work.
April 29-- Diaper Deliveries Continue
A wonderful group of volunteers working in teams in separate cars made contactless deliveries to 50 diaper clients with 63 babies in Orange and East Orange this week. Our diaper teams picked up diapers and supplies at our partner Congregation B'nai Jeshurun (TBJ), which had temporarily housed some supplies for us before our new space was ready, contacted clients (in three languages) to ensure they would be home when diapers were delivered, and made a contactless delivery of diapers (in the correct size), food and supplies. Each delivery consisted of a bag of non-perishable groceries, a bag of fresh produce, a 2 lb bag of flour, diapers, wipes, diaper rash ointment, baby food, and a mask. The groceries delivered came from two fabulous neighborhood food drives held last week to benefit the IFPO.
April 29-- our partner the Community FoodBank of NJ made the third food delivery to East Orange, utilizing two trucks that otherwise would have provided produce to our pantry's end of the month Farmers Market.
We were delighted to be able to secure applesauce, white kidney beans, corn, mac and cheese, peaches, soup, and jelly in addition to SFPP muffin mix, milk, grits and frozen vegetables and USDA products including chicken, beans, vegetable oil, cheese, spaghetti sauce, peanut butter, soups and egg noodles. The delivery included 20 cases of onions, 15 cases of cabbage, 15 cases of apples, and 15 cases of oranges. We are particularly grateful to CFB's Denyelle Burgess, our Network Engagement Specialist, who worked so hard to make this happen, and to Rita Butts and the City of East Orange workers who distributed this food to East Orange residents this week. Rice from this delivery was brought to the Holy Trinity Food Pantry, our MEND partner, which has opened their doors to our clients during this time.
Diabetes Program Continues-- Our incredible partner Summit Medical Group Foundation (SMGF) is working to continue support to participants in the Diabetes program [Food, Health and Hope (FHH)] even though clients are not coming to our physical pantry during this time.
SMGF staff have been making wellness calls since March to talk to FHH participants about how they are managing their health now, and to reinforce their FHH program goals and education principles. Participants are encouraged and reminded of things they can continue to do even now. During the calls, participants are given COVID-19 related education, including coronavirus symptoms, hand-washing instruction, and infection prevention tips. Knowing healthy ways to manage the stress we may be experiencing related to the coronavirus is very important for all of us right now, and this is specifically discussed with FHH participants.
The IFPO worked with the City of Orange to take on the original distribution of April diabetes boxes, as related in a prior update. Distribution of May boxes, groceries and produce will begin shortly.
Over the last week, each FHH participant was sent a mailing to their home from SMGF. This included 3 information cards covering some of the important topics discussed during calls as a tangible reminder of the phone discussions, and allowed information to easily be shared with others living in the home.
We are grateful to SMGF's Anna Trautwein, Clinical Director of Programs and Community Wellness, and Angel Arevalo, and to the Community FoodBank (especially FHH program coordinator Tanishia Delapara) for their efforts to support our clients' health during this difficult time.
April 22, 2020 -- Amazing teamwork between The Community Foodbank of NJ and IFPO enabled the City of Orange to receive over 15,000 pounds of non-perishable items along with fresh eggs, chicken, orange juice, farina, grits, spaghetti, tomato sauce and chicken chili - as well as other food we ordered like cannellini beans, canned peaches, mac and cheese and more.
The IFPO also delivered close to 2,000 pounds of fresh produce to the East Orange Senior Center for immediate distribution, including bananas, oranges, carrots, cucumbers, cabbage, onions, apples and yams. Thank you Baldor for being such a reliable company to work with.
Thank you to Maplecrest Ford Lincoln of Union for allowing Jen Miller to use the Maplecrest Moves Charities van to help the IFPO deliver a pallet of this food to the East Orange Senior Center.
Thank you to the Parkwood Diner of Maplewood delivered 50 hot chicken meals in our name to thank the Orange Police and DPW.
It might say IFPO is closed when you go on our website, but that is just our physical location...our team is working harder than ever!
Jen Miller was able to use the Maplecrest Moves Charity van to help us deliver much needed food supplies.
Thank you Baldor Foods for being a reliable source of beautiful produce! And for expertly backing up this truck into our very tight unloading area.
Jodi meets the CFBNJ truck carrying much needed food for the City of Orange.
April 17, 2020-- The IFPO worked with Community FoodBank of NJ and East Orange Township officials to secure a massive food delivery-- a tractor trailer filled with 10 tons of food!!!!-- to help the East Orange community ravaged by the Coronavirus.
“The extent and impact of this crisis has made food insecurity an issue for many of our residents, some for the very first time in their lives,” said Mayor Ted R. Green. “On behalf of the entire East Orange community, I want to express a heartfelt thanks to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey and the Interfaith Pantry of the Oranges for this generous donation that will help put food on the table for so many of our families in need.”
To maintain current social distancing practices, the city created a systematic process by which residents have the option of either walking up or driving through Monday April 20th through Thursday April 23rd. IFPO volunteers are calling clients who reside in the township personally alerting them to the distribution and special distribution hours reserved for our clients. Volunteers are calling in English, Spanish and Haitan Creole to make sure we reach as many clients as possible.
For complete details, read the TAPInto article "Community Food Bank of NJ and Interfaith Food Pantry of the Oranges to Donate Over a Ton of Emergency Food Packages to East Orange Residents." Click here for the article.
April 11, 2020-- IFPO's amazing Diaper Angels Team directly delivered diapers (contactless and curbside) to 57 clients representing 74 babies. Thank you Karyn for coordinating the effort and for the tireless work of Shayna, Rita and Ros!
April 9, 2020-- The IFPO is incredibly appreciative of our partner The Community FoodBank of New Jersey, who is working 24/7 for our most vulnerable neighbors, and yesterday (4/8) delivered pallets and pallets of food (and diapers and diabetes program boxes) to the Rosa Parks School for distribution to our clients and the Orange community. Additional pallets are coming this morning!! Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of our Community Foodbank of NJ contacts who made this happen, and for your extraordinary efforts at this time. Grateful also to the Orange NJ Police Department, the Orange Department of Public Works, and Bishop Ferguson for your coordination and delivery efforts.
April 8, 2020 -- We are thrilled that thanks to a lot of hard work on the part of the IFPO, and incredible efforts and support from our partner The Community FoodBank of New Jersey, a tractor trailer filled with massive quantities of non-perishable food, produce, as well as 2300 pounds of frozen chicken, pork, milk, orange juice and more arrived this morning in the City of Orange. This food will be distributed by the City of Orange to their residents in need.
Forty cases of diapers will be delivered by IFPO volunteers to our diaper clients.
Ninety-six boxes of diabetes program food will be delivered by the Orange Police and Orange Department of Public Works to participants in our diabetes program, which is cosponsored by the CFB and Summit Medical Group Foundation. We are so appreciative of everyone's efforts to make this happen!
Shayna, was our "boots on the ground" representative on April 8th to ensure the delivery went well. Thank you Shayna!
Diaper program coordinator, Karen, has worked tirelessly with Rita and other volunteers this week to ensure we could hand deliver diapers to as many clients in our diaper program as possible. The Community FoodBank of New Jersey made available our allotment for April and May now so that we could deliver diapers to as many clients as possible. We are also sourcing diapers elsewhere. While Janet picked up additional diapers from Children's Aid and Family Services in Bergen County.
April 7, 2020-- Like all of you, we at the Interfaith Food Pantry of the Oranges continue to react and adjust as the situation related to COVID-19/Coronavirus continues to unfold. Our host Church has been, and currently remains, closed. You may not see us in operation, but know that a tremendous amount of hard work is going on behind the scenes to do all we can at this time!
The global pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we today do our work at the IFPO. But it has not stopped us. We continue to work closely with our partners MEND and the Community Foodbank of NJ, as well as with the City of Orange, to find ways to provide food to the local community.
At the beginning of April, our board and registration team personally reached out to call 150 of our clients to confirm their current address and let them know that the City of Orange would be delivering an emergency food box (EFB) containing a 14 day supply of non-perishable food for a family. The EFBs were delivered by the Orange Police Department and the Orange Department of Public Works directly to the doorsteps of some of our most vulnerable clients. Over 500 additional EFBs were made available through our efforts to the city of Orange for distribution to senior buildings in Orange.
We have worked extensively with our partner the Community Foodbank of NJ to arrange their delivery of another tractor trailer load of non-perishable food to the City of Orange in lieu of our normally scheduled April USDA and SFPP deliveries. This Wednesday, the CFB will deliver to the city of Orange over a thousand two pound bags of rice, as well as entire pallets full of soup; peanut butter; green beans; carrots; canned tuna, salmon and chicken; beef ravioli; fruit and nut mix in one pound packages; oatmeal, farina and grits; beans; applesauce; jelly and boxed milk. We estimate that this delivery will provide over 550 Orange citizens with a heavily packed bag of nutritious food.
In addition, we are working overtime to provide for babies in our Diaper Program. We called 129 of our diaper clients (in three languages) to confirm their current addresses and diaper size needed. The CFB will deliver 40 cases of diapers to us on Wednesday, and we will then directly deliver diapers to as many clients as possible, helping to keep babies dry and free from diaper rash (which can lead to trips to the emergency room). We are also trying to arrange a pickup of 29 additional cases in Bergen County from our partner Children’s Aid & Family Services. We are trying to source other diapers at this time of scarcity and delayed deliveries from both donated and other sources and welcome your suggestions for ways to source diapers.
In order to serve clients in our diabetes program, the CFB will also deliver approximately 100 diabetes boxes to us on Wednesday. We are calling about 45 diabetes clients to confirm their addresses, a multi-language effort, and then will provide details grouped by location information so that the Orange Police Department and the Orange Department of Public Works can deliver this critical food in both Orange and East Orange.
Throughout the month, we have continued to provide continually updated information available to clients on our website and Facebook page whenever we became aware of other food sources, as well as to answer questions on the IFPO phone line. We are grateful to the food pantries of Holy Trinity Church, West Orange and Joi's Angels, East Orange for the food they made available to our clients at this challenging time.
We profoundly hope we are able to resume full operations shortly. In the spirit of Passover and Easter, we renew our commitment to serve our vulnerable neighbors. We wish you and your families continued good health and safety during this time of uncertainty.
March 29, 2020-- Like all of you, we at the Interfaith Food Pantry of the Oranges continue to react and adjust as the situation related to COVID-19/Coronavirus continues to unfold. At our March 11 pantry, we were able to provide heavily packed "to go" bags of food and produce to 280 clients, as well as distribute diapers to 155 babies enrolled in our diaper program. After exceedingly careful thought and numerous discussions with volunteer leadership, the IFPO temporarily ceased pantry operations on March 18.
Our host Church had then been, and currently remains, closed. While it pains us greatly to not be able to directly continue to serve our neighbors at this time, we made the decision to close out of an abundance of caution and concern for the health and well-being of our clients and volunteers, as well as concern for the local community. The need to socially distance makes it virtually impossible for us to continue to operate when we generally serve 350 clients and have as many as 100 volunteers each pantry day.
Aware that we may not have access to our pantry supply rooms for several weeks while food was needed in the local community, we arranged to transfer the contents of our pantry rooms (as well as our supply of maxipads) to our partner MEND last week. These items are being distributed to Essex County pantries within the MEND network that are still open. MEND is working closely with other food pantries as well as local schools to make sure that emergency feeding programs continue to have supplies now.
We are currently working with the City of Orange to find ways to provide food to the local community when we are made aware of opportunities to procure food from pantry sources and contacts. We were able to help arrange for 672 emergency food boxes - an entire tractor trailer's worth - to be brought by the Community Foodbank of NJ to the City of Orange on March 27th for distribution.
These boxes contain a 14 day supply of non-perishable food for a family. They are currently being directly delivered in Orange to senior buildings, and we have been told that deliveries will be made shortly to some of the IFPO's most vulnerable clients.
Continually updated information is available to clients on our website regarding other sources of food we are aware of at this time. Our clients were told in early March by our Registration team to now check out our website and Facebook page for updated pantry information.
We profoundly hope we are able to resume full operations shortly. We wish you and your families continued good health and safety during this time of uncertainty.