The Food Pantry at Suydam Street Reformed Church has been in place since the late 1990’s and currently assists 200 families per month. Food to be distributed comes from Community Food Bank in Hillside, NJ and from food drives conducted by the Suydam Street Reformed Church. The pantry engages with “McFoods” (Middlesex County Food Organization and Outreach Distribution Services). It receives food products twice weekly from Stop&Shop in Somerset, and weekly from ShopRite in North Brunswick.
It is open every Saturday 9 – 10:30 a.m., Sunday 7:30 – 8:30 a.m., and Monday 9 – 10 a.m. Families in need can use the pantry once a month. They are issued ID cards that are marked at each visit to show if the card has been used yet for the month. The sign-in system follows state and federal guidelines for various ways that recipients qualify to receive the food and assure it is being distributed to people in need. A family can obtain one bag of groceries plus one package of meat on each visit. Sunday mornings the pantry often distributes bread and bakery products.
Open a total of 3 ½ hours per week, it is the only area food pantry that is open on weekends. During open hours, the pantry has a table of free clothing available. The outreach also has a program helping indigent people cope with a medical emergency, offering one-time assistance of up to $100 with getting a prescription filled, through referral from local hospitals and doctors.
Operations are staffed by deacons and other volunteers including church members and neighbors. Youth Corps (a program through New Brunswick Board of Education) assists to stock the pantry when monthly foods are delivered to the church, and when weekly foods are picked up from Community Food Bank’s warehouse on Jersey Ave.
The program currently has a need for a chest-style freezer in good condition, to replace a previously used freezer that had rusted.
Suydam Street Reformed Church is at 74 Drift St., New Brunswick, NJ 08901 (732) 249-6803.