Every morning many of us turn on the lights, get out of bed and make breakfast with hardly a thought. We carry on with our day, taking these simple things for granted. But for many of our fellow neighbors, these basic necessities are not guaranteed. Nearly 1 in 7 NJ residents struggle to keep food on the table and thousands of families in our own community are often forced to make tough decisions about their basic needs.
Our staff knows how hard these decisions can be for struggling families. Being forced to choose between buying food and paying bills can bring a world of stress. That’s why we handle every client that walks through our doors with great care. When it comes to feeding people & changing lives, it’s not just about providing food, it’s about giving our clients the support they need.
Sometimes it’s the small things that matter most. Jeni, a member of our pantry team, often saves produce and pre-packed meals for clients who don’t have any way of cooking their food. Understanding how frustrating it can be for our clients to receive the wrong “kind” of food, Jeni is always prepared with a bag of items that are ready to eat. She has the same regard for anyone that walks through our doors, whether it’s a family with special dietary needs or a struggling parent whose child loves peanut butter and jelly. Discovering these special items in their grocery bags, along with the care in which they are presented, are enough to bring many sighs of relief and smiles around our pantry.
This week a client named Martha came to our referral office in a panic. She had been hungry for several days and she was terrified. Seeing that Martha was in need of a listening ear, our team took the time to listen. They asked Martha about her day, talked her through her troubles and shared some words of encouragement. By the time Martha's groceries were ready, everything had changed for her. Martha realized that she would have something to eat when she got home and that she wouldn’t have to worry about where her next meal was coming from. Most importantly, she felt heard and she knew that someone was in her corner. Something so small, a few minutes of conversation and support, turned her whole day around.
In the middle of our busy days, it’s easy to forget the small things. Whether it’s the food in our refrigerator or the interactions we have with those around us, the small stuff matters. We challenge you to focus more on the small things this week — count your blessings and do something nice for a loved one or a perfect stranger. The smallest good deed can make a world of difference. We see it every day at CUMAC.
If you’re looking for simple ways to make a difference this month, visit our opportunities page.