The AECDC received a call from the New Brunswick Police Domestic Violence Response Team and St. Mary's Apartments indicating that there was a need for Thanksgiving meals for low income families and seniors living in the area. Recently the federal food stamp program (SNAP—Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) has suffered budget cuts that have impacted those populations.
The AECDC contacted our commuity friends and members of the Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple, which provides office space to the AECDC. The good response enabled us to provide 25 households, which encompassed 125 people, with a complete dinner including either turkey or meat. The Franklin Township Food Bank generously assisted with the meals. Included in the food packages was information on how to contact legislators to advocate against the proposed further budget cuts to the federal food program. On Thanksgiving Day, volunteers, including our Program Director, Norka Torres, drove around with flyers informing people about which facilities were providing free meals for the day.
For the Christmas holiday, the AECDC once again, with the generous involvement of the members of Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple, is assuring that needy families are able to celebrate. The charity is also partnering with various agencies, including The United Way of Middlesex County, the Middlesex County Department of Human Services, the Salvation Army, Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Center, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and St. Augustine Church's St. Vincent De Paul Society in Kendall Park, N.J. This holiday project "Adopt a Family" is supplying 100 families, which include 215 children, with children's winter coats, hats, shoes, boots and toys. For the fifth year in a row, the AECDC and the Temple members are sponsoring this program.
The families are selected from AECDC clients, 50% of which are young single moms, students in high school or college or school drop outs. Many of the 1,000 clients served yearly are those who fall through the cracks of social services. Gifts are delivered personally and the families are so grateful that they often work on collecting toys and infant supplies themselves to give back to the agency.