JFCS unveils the new JFCS Mobile Food Pantry to the community on January 30, 2020. This project was long in the making, beginning by recognizing the significant need within Mercer County.
In Mercer County, almost 40,000 men, women and children lack consistent access to enough food to lead healthy, active lives. Often, they don’t know where their next meal is coming from.
For 20 years, JFCS has maintained a brick-and-mortar healthy, choice pantry at our Alexander Road offices. The JFCS Yvette Sarah Clayman Kosher Food Pantry is one of several resources in the community; however, we recognized that many have difficultly accessing these existing food pantries and food banks due to limitation in transportation options, mobility concerns and other obstacles.
The JFCS Mobile Food Pantry will bring the resources of the JFCS pantry on the road to locations across Mercer County. At each location, JFCS will park the fully-stocked truck and distribute groceries to those in need.
When patrons come to the JFCS pantry, they are provided with guidelines by which to shop and select items. We utilize USDA nutrition standards for a balanced diet in setting parameters for food selection. Every patron is allowed the shop privately in the pantry and make their choice of products in the various categories – grains, proteins, produce, dairy, etc. – to best meet their dietary needs and preferences.
In designing the mobile experience, we remained committed to replicating the healthy, choice-based, individualized experience for those using the Mobile Food Pantry. The Mobile Food Pantry includes two refrigerators and a freezer to stock fresh and frozen produce, meats, and dairy products, along with standard shelf-staples. In the mobile experience, patrons will be provided a shopping list and make selections based on their family size and personal preference of products.
The Mobile Food Pantry will be making scheduled stops at established locations in Mercer County including churches, daycare centers, low-income housing and low-income senior housing. We are partnering with designated sites so our patrons will not be forced to wait outside during inclement or extreme weather conditions. Volunteers staffing each distribution site will be there to “shop” the Mobile Food Pantry based on the completed lists and bring the bagged order to patrons waiting inside the partner facility or even directly to their apartment.
The first distribution stops of the JFCS Mobile Food Pantry will be announced this month and will focus on existing partners in Princeton, West Windsor, East Windsor and Hightstown.