UPDATE: MEND will host another water drive for Newark on Sunday, August 25, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Millburn Free Public Library, 200 Glen Avenue in Millburn, NJ. See details here.
The following report is from Claire Sinclair of FeedSOMany:
Everyone has been concerned with the water crisis in Newark and after being contacted several times through the Feed SOMany Facebook group on how we could help and after getting more information and encouragement from Mary Alice Carter of Maplewood, I reached out to Robin Peacock, the executive director of MEND Hunger Relief Network to see what we could do.
We came up with a plan to hold a water drive and in three days, were able to pull together a “flash drive” this past Sunday, August 18. Pastor Peterson from Elizabeth Avenue-Weequanic Presbyterian Church, a MEND member pantry, reached out to see if MEND’s Green Bean mobile food pantry bus could be used to transport some donated water from the United Presbyterian Church of West Orange. They had 80 cases of water for her and she was looking for a way to get it to her pantry. The timing was right and everything aligned perfectly.
A local social media buzz was generated through some of the local groups, Maplewood Moms, SOMA Lounge, Fierce Females…and word spread quickly.
Sunday morning, The Green Bean was parked in front of my home for 2.5 hours and the donations began pouring in. Two children from South Orange — Peyton and Wilson Smith — posted their own videos on social media and raised $500 to buy water! Second grade teachers (past and present) from Tuscan School donated two car loads of water! There was a steady flow of donations all morning long with people happy to help.
Robin reported, “Sunday’s donations went to Elizabeth Ave. Presbyterian Church, whose Pastor conducted local outreach to the greater community. Pastor Peterson expected about 50 people to stop by on Sunday, and will also use her church as a hub for other Newark-based MEND pantries to collect water this week. Pantry Manager Joan Williams stopped by Sunday afternoon, and filled her car with 50 cases for the First Hopewell Baptist Church Food Pantry, which distributes to patrons every Wednesday. The bus also unloaded water at Roseville Presbyterian Church in Newark. The pantry had been trying to figure out how to allocate funding to purchase water, so the donations were most welcome.”
There was lots of heavy lifting involved and his couldn’t have happened without the help from Mary Alice Carter, Suzanne Vickberg, Dan Peacock, Ben Eyler, Drew Sinclair, Teddy Peacock and, of course, our amazing bus driver, and chairman of the board of trustees of MEND, Jamie Anthony.
- coordinating with our pantries and City of Newark to determine ongoing need, and continuing to collect monetary donations for water purchases for pantries to distribute;
- hosting another water drive in Millburn at the public library on Glen Avenue on August 25; and
- organizing a September water drive through FeedSOMany.
A huge thank you to everyone who participated by dropping off water or giving monetary donations. If you would still like to donate you can do so here.