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IN THE NEWS! Provident Bank Foundation awards grants to 25 N.J. nonprofits

November 11, 2020

ROI-NJ featured an announcment from the Provident Bank Foundation regarding their generous grant awards across NJ.

JFCS has been awarded a Major Grant in the amount of $12,500 from The Provident Bank Foundation to support our food distribution through the Mobile Food Pantry and on-site pantry specifically in the East Windsor & Hightstown communities.

Warm Apple Crisp in a Mug

Apple Season in NJ lasts from late August until the end of October.
Savor the naturally sweet flavor of apples with this 5-minute healthy dessert recipe!


Ingredients & Instructions

For Filling

  • 1 apple
  • 1 tsp of sugar/honey/maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon

For Topping

  • 2 TBSP oats
  • 2 tsp unsweetened applesauce
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp sugar/honey/maple syrup
    pinch of salt


  1. Peel & dice apple and place it into your favorite microwavable mug.
  2. Add sugar/honey/maple syrup and cinnamon to the mug with the apple and mix.
  3. In a separate small bowl combine all of the topping ingredients.
  4. Spread this mixture across the top of the apples in the mug.
  5. Microwave for 1.5-2 minutes and ENJOY!
Ingredientes & Instrucciones

La temporada de manzana en Nueva Jersey dura desde finales de Agosto hasta finales de Octubre. ¡Saboree el sabor naturalmente dulce de las manzanas con esta receta de postre saludable de 5 minutos!

Ingredientes para el receta:

  • 1 manzana

  • ¼ cucharadita de canela

  • 1 cucharadita de azúcar /miel/ jarabe de arce

Ingredientes para la cobertura:

  • 2 cucharadas de avena
  • 2 cucharaditas de puré de manzana sin azúcar
  • ¼ cucharadita de canela
  • ½ cucharadita de azúcar /miel/ jarabe de arce pellizco de sal


  1. Pele y corte la manzana en cubos y colóquela en su taza favorita para microondas.
  2. Agregue azúcar/miel/jarabe de arce y canela a la taza con la manzana y mezcle.
  3. En un tazón pequeño aparte, mezcle todos los ingredientes de la cobertura.
  4. Extienda esta mezcla sobre la parte superior de las manzanas en la taza.
  5. Microonda durante 1.5-2 minutos y ¡DISFRUTE!

One Pan Chicken Tacos with Sweet Potatoes & Black Beans

Sweet potatoes are harvested from late summer through the fall. They are a vitamin-rich & versatile staple of the season.  Sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene, a plant-based orange/red pigment that converts to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A helps maintain healthy skin, eyes & a strong immune system. Try a new recipe with sweet potatoes this season!

Ingredients & Instructions
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 4 Sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 15 oz Black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 Bunch kale, stalks removed & leaves chopped (optional)
  • Olive oil, for roasting
  • 1 Red onion, thinly sliced
  • Tortillas
  • 2 tsp taco seasonings (cumin, chili powder, paprika, choose your favorites!)


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Place the cubed chicken in a bowl with 1 Tbsp olive oil & season with salt, pepper and 1/2 tsp of your taco seasonings. Stir to coat then set aside.
  3. Arrange the sweet potatoes on a sheet pan then drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the prepared chicken onto the sheet pan with the potatoes and roast in the oven for 20 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl combine kale (optional), red onions & black beans. Drizzle with olive oil, remaining taco seasoning, salt, & pepper. Then mix well to combine.
  6. Once the potatoes & chicken have roasted for 20 minutes, carefully add onion & black bean mixture to the pan.
  7. Put the pan back into the oven and roast for another 10-15 minutes until the potatoes & the chicken are completely cooked through. Remove from oven & serve onto tortillas with your favorite sides & garnishes.
Ingredientes & Instrucciones

El comote se cosechan de finales del verano hasta el otoño. Son un alimento básico y rico en vitaminas de la temporada.
El comote es rico en betacaroteno, un pigmento naranja / rojo de origen vegetal que se convierte en vitamina A en el cuerpo. La vitamina A ayuda a mantener la piel, los ojos sanos y un sistema inmunológico fuerte.
¡Prueba una nueva receta con comotes esta temporada!

  • 2 pechugas de pollo deshuesadas, cortadas en trozos de 1 pulgada                              
  • 4 comotes, cortadas en cubos de 1/2 pulgada
  • Aceite de olive, para asar
  • Sal y pimienta negra, al gusto
  • 15 oz de frijoles negros, enjuagados y escurridos                                                          –
  • 1 manojo de col rizada, sin tallos y hojas picadas (opcional)
  •  1 cebolla morada, en rodajas finas
  • Tortillas                                          
  • 2 cucharaditas de condimentos para tacos (comino, chile en polvo, pimentón, ¡elige tus favoritos!)


  1. Precaliente el horno a 400 ° F.
  2. Coloque el pollo en cubos en un tazón con 1 cucharada de aceite de oliva y sazone con sal, pimienta y 1/2 cucharadita de condimentos para tacos. Revuelva para cubrir y luego reserve.
  3. Coloque las batatas en una sartén, luego rocíe con aceite de oliva y sazone con sal y pimienta.
  4. Coloque el pollo preparado en la bandeja con el camote y ase en el horno durante 20 minutos.
  5. Mientras tanto, en un tazón grande, mezcle la col rizada (opcional), las cebollas rojas y los frijoles negros. Rocíe con aceite de oliva, el condimento restante para tacos, sal y pimienta. Luego mezcle bien para combinar.
  6. Una vez que las papas y el pollo se hayan asado durante 20 minutos, agregue con cuidado la mezcla de cebolla y frijoles negros a la sartén.
  7. Vuelva a colocar la sartén en el horno y ase durante otros 10-15 minutos hasta que las papas y el pollo estén completamente cocidos. Retire del horno y sirva sobre tortillas con sus guarniciones favoritas.

JFCS Women’s Alliance Raises Over $80,000 to Help Support Food Insecure Residents of Mercer County

November 5, 2020

Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Mercer County [JFCS] held its second annual event for the JFCS Women’s Alliance, a membership-based collaboration of women focused on addressing hunger in Mercer County.

To date, the Women’s Alliance had raised $80,478 in donations and pledges. The funds raised can support over 10 weeks of distributions through the JFCS Mobile Food Pantry. The Mobile Food Pantry has benefitted over 11,000 individuals since its launch in January of 2020.

This year the JFCS Women’s Alliance introduced tiered giving levels to open membership to more women, particularly to include those whose giving abilities may have been impact by the pandemic, but still wanted to be a part of the group and support the JFCS Mobile Food Pantry.

“We were so impressed with the response to the Women’s Alliance this year,” said Michelle Napell, Executive Director of JFCS. “From the overwhelming response, it is clear people want to give, they want to have their dollars make an impact in their community.”

The pandemic has dramatically increased need for food across all communities, including Mercer County. According to Feeding America, the food insecurity rate in Mercer is expected to reach 13.6% by the end of 2020, representing over 50,000 individuals.

On October 29, all 126 Women’s Alliance members were invited to tune in live to the virtual event, “Community & Resilience” an interview with Joanne Canady-Brown, owner of The Gingered Peach (Lawrenceville, NJ) and Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Fellow, James Beard Foundation.

“When planning our event, we not only wanted to share about our mobile pantry program, but also take this opportunity to highlight the theme of ‘community and resilience’ through a local story,” said Napell. “Joanne, as a local, small-business owner, certainly showed resilience as she has kept her business going through the pandemic, and through the challenges of this year, she never hesitated to give back to her community despite facing her own obstacles.”

Canady-Brown shared her personal story including her journey in opening The Gingered Peach six years ago, the challenges of navigating the pandemic as a small business owner, and her family inspirations that led to her career in baking and developing a resilient spirit.

“Joanne spoke about her upbringing, and the role food played in building that sense of family and community. She reflected that her family was economically challenges and food was the ‘only vehicle to celebrate’ and used as a way to show love,” noted Napell. “This message resonates with how JFCS approaches our pantry distributions, it is not just about handing out food items, we give with care and compassion to those we serve. We take pride in offering fresh, healthy food items that can truly be a center of a family celebration.”

To learn more about becoming a member or supporting the Women’s Alliance, contact Helaine Isaacs at 609-987-8100 Ext 104 or

See this story in the November 11 edition of Town Topics.

JFCS Women’s Alliance Tackling Increasing Hunger during COVID-19

October 5, 2020

In 2019, Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Mercer County [JFCS] introduced the Women’s Alliance, a membership-based collaboration of women focused on addressing hunger in Mercer County. With 78 Founding Members and 25 additional donors contributing over $84,000, the group served as the largest collective founding sponsor of the JFCS Mobile Food Pantry.

Entering its second year, the Women’s Alliance is inviting new and returning members to support this initiative. The Women’s Alliance committee recognized it was more important than ever to support programs addressing food insecurity despite facing the obstacles of creating an engaging, group-based effort in the midst of a pandemic.

“In speaking with Michelle Napell, the JFCS Executive Director, I learned how drastically the pandemic has impacted already vulnerable populations, right here in our community,” said Robin Persky, founding member of JFCS Women’s Alliance and member of the Women’s Alliance Event Committee. “Not only are those populations facing greater challenges to accessing food, but now we have thousands more in need because of job loss and the overall economic impact of COVID. There are so many who never needed the support of a pantry and are now turning to JFCS and other community resources.”

The Women’s Alliance will once again support the JFCS Mobile Food Pantry, which launched in January 2020. The pandemic has accelerated the impact of the mobile program with 3-4 stops being made each week at partner distribution sites across Mercer County. In accordance with health and safety guidelines, the mobile pantry is delivering pre-packed bags of groceries in a contact free manner. JFCS continues to serve healthy options including meat, dairy and fresh produce in addition to non-perishable items. The goal is to return to an all choice pantry when social distancing restrictions are lifted and it is safe to do so.

“We are incredibly appreciative of the Women’s Alliance Committee members for remaining dedicated to their mission in the midst of this pandemic,” said Michelle Napell, Executive Director. “Their support is needed now more than ever.”

The Women’s Alliance Committee has tapped Joanne Canady-Brown to serve as the keynote speaker at their virtual event for members in October. Canady-Brown is the owner of The Gingered Peach in Lawrenceville, NJ and a James Beard Foundation Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Fellow. The virtual event will feature Canady-Brown being interviewed by Nora Muchanic, former Action News New Jersey correspondent (6abc Action News) to share her story of “Community and Resilience” from building up her current business, to navigating the challenges of COVID-19 as a small business owner, and how through it all, she has found support from her community, and in turn supported those in need.

This year, there are three membership levels: Contributing Member for minimum donation of $180, Supporting Member for a minimum donation of $540, and Sustaining Member for minimum donation of $1,000. All members will be listed on JFCS Website, in Annual Report and be able to attend the 2020 Member Event, being held virtually:                                    

Event: Community & Resilience – An Interview with Joanne Canady-Brown, owner of The Gingered Peach, by Nora Muchanic, former Action News NJ correspondent

Date: Thursday, October 29, 2020      

Time: 12 – 1 PM

Location: Held via Zoom

Private Event for Women’s Alliance Members Only, link provided upon registration

Find more information and additional benefits associated with each membership level on our Women’s Alliance Giving page.

To become a member of the JFCS Women’s Alliance for 2020-2021, contact Helaine Isaacs, Development Associate at 609-987-8100 Ext 104 or

Snack Attack Halloween Food Drive

It’s Halloween 2020, help spread cheer, not germs! Our Halloween Snack Drive-By Food Drive will be collecting individually wrapped Kosher snacks.

Snack bags will benefit children of the JFCS food pantry and our partner agencies across Mercer County.

When? Sunday, October 25 from 2 – 5 PM

Where? JFCS Parking Lot 707 Alexander Road, Suite 102 Princeton NJ 08540

What? Donate individually wrapped snacks:

  • Candy
  • Popcorn
  • Pretzels
  • Chips
  • Veggie Straws
  • Cookies
  • Fruit Snacks
  • Cereal Bars

All items must be marked Kosher.

Can’t make the event? Check out our Amazon Wishlist to ship items directly to our offices!

Our thanks to Carli Masia, Snack Attack Chair

September is Hunger Action Month – How to Help Food Insecure individuals in Mercer County

September is Hunger Action Month, a time to become educated on food insecurity and gain awareness on how you can help reduce its impact on our community. Although it may not be easily noticeable, food insecurity affects many communities, including Mercer County.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines food insecurity as lacking consistent access to the amount of food needed to live a full and healthy life and is the product of both financial difficulty and inaccessibility to proper resources. Food insecurity is not always synonymous with poverty. As of 2017, the food insecurity rate in Mercer County was 10.6%, with 67% of the food insecure individuals being below the poverty threshold for government assistance and 33% not meeting the requirements for welfare benefits (Feeding America, 2018).

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused economic hardship for countless Americans, including those in our community. In Mercer County, the unemployment rate has increased from 3% in June 2019 to 12% in June 2020. In addition, the food insecurity in Mercer County is expected to rise to 13.6%, or over 50,000 people, by the end of 2020.

JFCS has seen the need rising first-hand with monthly visits to the on-site pantry doubling pre-pandemic numbers. Our Kosher Café, a nutrition site for low-income seniors to now receive grab-and-go meals, has seen a steady rate of attendance which is 25% higher than previous months.

How can you take action for Hunger Action Month?

  • Learn more about the JFCS food programs and other local food banks, food pantries, and community resources to understand how they are serving those in need
  • Make a monetary donation to support JFCS
  • Donate food items to the JFCS Pantry
  • Volunteer with JFCS or another local organization working to combat hunger
    • You can help the JFCS pantry by packing bags for our on-site and mobile pantry clients! Interested in learning more? Contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Eden Aaronson at or 609-987-8100 Ext 113.

If you are hungry, you are welcome.

If you are experiencing financial trouble and are seeking a food pantry near you, the JFCS pantry is open to all in the community who need help. We provide all clients with a supply of non-perishable items as well as fresh produce, cheese and chicken. All our clients also receive copies of the JFCS Pantry Newsletter which shares healthy, budget-friendly recipes centered on pantry staples along with other important information and resources.

We are currently providing pre-packed bags of groceries through no-contact pick up at our food pantry located on Alexander Road, Princeton NJ. You can arrange a pick-up time by calling us at 609-987-8100 Ext 237 or using our online sign up form.

Emmanuelle Farrell, MSW Intern


Hake, M., E. Engelhard, A. Dewey, C. Gundersen (2020). The Impact of the Coronavirus on Food Insecurity [Brief series]. Available from Feeding America.

US Department of Agriculture, (2019). Definitions of Food Security. Available online.

Feeding America. (2018). Food insecurity in Mercer County. Feeding America.

The growing need for food in Mercer County, and how JFCS is adapting to meet the need

September 10, 2020

JFCS held a virtual Funders Forum for our most dedicated supporters of agency food pantries and food distribution programs. The presentation shared how drastically the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the need for food across the world, including in Mercer County.

According to Feeding America, by the end of 2020, the food insecurity rate in Mercer County is expected to rise to 13.6%. This means over 50,000 men, women and children in our county will be food insecure.

JFCS also used the forum to share the impact our agency has made through our Mobile Food Pantry, on-site pantry and distribution programs.

View the entire presentation here:

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Hake, M., E. Engelhard, A. Dewey, C. Gundersen (2020). The Impact of the Coronavirus on Food Insecurity [Brief series]. Available from Feeding America.

Kenneally, B. (2020). America at Hunger’s Edge, New York Times Magazine.

US Department of Agriculture, (2019). Definitions of Food Security. Available online.

Community Food Pantry Available In Princeton / West Windsor for All Mercer Residents

August 4, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the demand for food in Mercer County. Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Mercer County (JFCS) maintains an on-site food pantry, the Yvette Sarah Clayman Kosher Food Pantry, which offers fresh and frozen options in addition to shelf staples to anyone in the community who is in need of groceries at this time.

Since March 2020, the pantry has seen double the usual demand each month with regular clientele relying more heavily on this resource, and increasing calls from community members who suddenly find themselves in need due to job loss or other financial crises.

“For those who were already vulnerable and food insecure, the challenges to safely and regularly accessing healthy food options have been compounded by COVID-19,” said Beth Englezos, Manager of Hunger Prevention at JFCS. “As benefit programs reach their end dates, we anticipate a further increase in need and are prepared to handle the rise in demand.”

The JFCS pantries normally offer a choice model, where clients are invited to select food products they know their families will eat and enjoy. Due to COVID-10 health and safety guidelines, JFCS is operating a prepared bag model where community members can set up a time for no-contact pick up of a pre-packed bag of groceries which includes non-perishable items, as well as fresh fruit and vegetables, cheese and chicken.

Where to find the JFCS Pantry?

Our pantry is located at 707 Alexander Road, Suite 204 Princeton, NJ 08540. The office is located just off of Route 1 and accessible via NJ Transit Bus Route #600/Carnegie Center stop.

How to set up a pick up time?

Call our offices at 609-987-8100 Ext 237 to set up a pick up time. Staff is available Monday – Thursday 9 AM – 5PM and Fridays 9 AM – 4 PM.

Need more info? Call us at 609-987-8100 Ext 237

Beth Englezos, Manager of Senior Programs & Hunger Prevention

Evelyn Hernandez, Program Assistant for Counseling & Hunger Prevention


(English and Spanish)