A New Chapter Begins
After months of planning and fundraising, we’re happy to share that phase one of our Beyond Hunger Initiative is officially underway! CUMAC’s current offices will soon be transformed into a choice marketplace, where our clients will be able to shop for the food they need. Construction begins this month and our staff couldn’t be more excited. The new space will be three times larger than our current pantry, and will provide our neighbors with aisles full of fresh and nutritious food to choose from. Along with expanding healthy food access, the marketplace will have a waiting room and case management area, as well space for free health screenings, nutrition education, cooking classes, and other supportive services. By collaborating with community partners to offer a variety of services under one roof, CUMAC has a unique opportunity to improve the long-term health and well-being of our community. Thank you for making it possible.
The marketplace opens this September. Stay tuned for updates!
Our biggest event of the year is back! Join us Thursday, September 19 at Factory 220 in Passaic, NJ for CUMAC’s 2nd Annual FLAMES, a night of gourmet food and drink to help fight hunger in New Jersey. Along with special tastings from some of the area’s top chefs, you’ll have the chance to enjoy signature cocktails, an auction full of exclusive prizes, new food stations, live performances, and much more. All proceeds will help feed people & change lives. Join the fun!
Save the date! Registration details and chef lineup coming soon.
From Place of Promise
For years, Daryl struggled with drug abuse. Addiction eventually took control of his life, and left him without a home or family. He spent many nights on the streets, staying in abandoned buildings, putting himself in harm’s way, because of his addiction. But with his health and future at stake, Daryl knew that he needed to make a change. Today, he is on the road to recovery with Place of Promise, CUMAC’s supportive housing program.
Daryl tells us that living at Place of Promise has been a blessing. After years of turmoil, Place of Promise has provided him with stability, support, and a means to get his life back on track. “I’m not where I want to be yet,” says Daryl. “But I’m happy with where I’m at. For the first time in a long time, I’m hopeful.” Daryl now has a full-time job and he’s committed to building a brighter future for himself. He’s also working on getting his driver’s license and restoring his relationship with his family. In the meantime, Daryl remains focused on his recovery and being the best dad he can be for his 8-year-old daughter. As Daryl works toward his goals, Place of Promise will be there every step of the way. Welcome to the CUMAC family, Daryl!
UPDATE: We’re happy to report that Melvin, one of our former residents, recently achieved one of his long-time goals of earning his high school diploma! He tells us that achieving this goal has helped him realize that “anything is possible when you plan and put your mind to it”. Melvin is now considering post-secondary programs and hopes to apply to schools later this year. We couldn’t be more proud. Keep up the great work, Melvin!
Place of Promise is a permanent supportive housing program which endeavors to serve those with disabilities who have been chronically homeless. Place of Promise provides resources and support to help residents meet personal goals, become more self-sufficient, and live healthy and productive lives.
CUMAC recently led our Pathways to Work members in an activity called vision boarding. As part of the exercise, Pathways members browsed magazines for images, words, and ideas that reflect their hopes for the future. The purpose of the activity is to establish goals and steps needed to achieve them. Many of our Pathways members told us that it was helpful to reflect on their priorities and determine their own version of success. After the exercise, everyone presented their boards and we discussed ways to align vision with action. Our team was inspired hearing what everyone hopes to accomplish personally and professionally.
Vision boards are just one example of the many ways we’re taking a more holistic approach to job readiness training. CUMAC is also hosting bi-weekly workshops for our Pathways members this summer. Led by staff and community partners, these workshops will dive into topics that will help educate and empower our team. Topics include resume writing tips, effective job searching, SMART goals, etiquette in the workplace, personal budgeting, and much more!
As the Pathways program continues to grow, we will strive to ensure that our members have the skills, knowledge, and resources needed to make their dreams a reality. Thank you for making it possible.
Supporting Our Neighbors
"Being part of Pathways, it’s been an incredible experience. CUMAC took the time to bring in tutors for me, they brought in a team that looked over my resume, and two weeks later they had a huge list of jobs in the area. The fact that they’ve been helping me with my housing situation, all of the work experience I've gained, I’ve learned so much here. When I walk through those doors, I know someone is watching over me, someone who will notice when something is wrong, someone who wants to talk to you. That type of attention and caring goes so far. It’s helped me grow. Community is all about supporting each other, and that’s what they do at CUMAC. I’m so glad to be here. Thank you, CUMAC.”
— Luisa, Pathways to Work
Through the Pathways program, community members like Luisa are getting the resources and support they need to jumpstart their careers. This month we have a unique opportunity to do even more for our neighbors, but we need your help!
Our friends at Union Congregational Church raised $12,000 in support of CUMAC’s Pathways to Work program and they have challenged our network to match that amount. There are just a few days left in the challenge. Won’t you help by making a donation? This week, every gift will go even further to support our community!
The Community Closet Gets A New Look
We would like to send a big CUMAC thank you to our wonderful friends at Rebuilding Together North Jersey and Sherwin Williams! Earlier this month, this incredible team spent two days painting our Community Closet and giving the space a much-needed makeover. For the second phase of the project, volunteers added uplifting messages to our walls. The volunteers painted words of inspiration like "You are beautiful", "Dream", and "Believe" to help make the space more inviting for our visitors. We are grateful!
As part of our Beyond Hunger Initiative, our team is striving to make CUMAC a more vibrant, comfortable place to work and receive clients. This project brings us one step closer to our goal and we couldn’t be more excited. Thank you Rebuilding Together and Sherwin Williams!
CUMAC's Community Closet provides our neighbors with disaster relief and affordable shopping options. We love offering these services, but our team relies on friends like you to keep our inventory stocked throughout the year. Want to help? We are currently in need of shoes, spring and summer clothing, lamps, baby items, and bed pillows. Consider donating your new or gently-used items this month!
Community Garden In Full Bloom
We would like to send a shout out to our wonderful friends at Union Congregational Church for revamping our community garden! Earlier this season, a team of UCC volunteers constructed nine raised beds for our green space. Thanks to their hard work, CUMAC’s garden will be home to eggplant, peppers, corn, beans, tomatoes, zucchini, swiss chard, and a variety of herbs this spring. In the coming months, our team will also be planting kale, arugula, cucumbers, and other greens. We can’t wait to share these fresh items. Thanks UCC!
The new garden space is just one of several beautification projects planned for CUMAC’s facility. Come visit us this summer and see the progress for yourself!
Take Action This Spring
CUMAC's new marketplace is expected to open in September 2019! Weekly volunteers will be needed to sort fresh foods and assist clients as they shop. Want to help? Volunteer training for the marketplace begins this August and we’d love to see you there. Call (973-742-5518) or e-mail our team to get involved.
HELP FILL OUR SHELVES
With the school year coming to a close and many students losing access to school meals, families are at increased risk of going hungry this summer. Consider making a donation this month to keep our pantry shelves stocked. Every donation can bring relief to a child in need. Want to take your action a step further? Hold a food drive! Here's a list of most-needed items. Call or e-mail us to get started.
Save The Date
FLAMES: NJ's Top Chefs Ignite Big, Crazy Dreams
Thursday, September 19
Halloween 5K to Scare Hunger Away
Sunday, October 27