CUMAC feeds people and changes lives. It works to alleviate hunger and its root causes for those in need in Paterson, Passaic County, and northern New Jersey.
CUMAC has been fighting hunger for over 30 years. With the help of our supporters and community partners, CUMAC operates an impressive array of programs that serve as a social safety net within the community of Paterson and beyond.
It began in the late 1970s, when then Paterson school teacher Hugh Dunlop recruited his church congregation to collect food for his ailing students. As they met that need, a greater need in the city of Paterson became obvious, and a small pantry was born to provide emergency food to the local community.
In 1985, CUMAC was incorporated as the Center of United Methodist Aid to the Community Ecumenically Concerned Helping Others (CUMAC/ECHO) – a name meant to show that while we are an urban mission of the United Methodist Church, we serve all people in need without discrimination.
We currently go by CUMAC - the shortened name the community knows us by - but we have grown physically, financially and organizationally in our 30-plus years of operation. Physically, we began in a borrowed church closet and now own our 28,000-square-foot facility in downtown Paterson; financially, we expanded our meager start-up budget thirty-fold; and organizationally we developed from a single-purpose, volunteer run group into a multi-service agency with a staff of 21 and hundreds of volunteers donating thousands of hours of work annually.
While the unemployment rate has improved, working wages simply have not kept up with the cost of living in New Jersey, forcing increasingly more people to seek emergency food assistance. As the largest food distribution program in Passaic County, we regularly feed over 2,500 low-income people a month. About 1 in 3 of our clients are children, 1 in 6 are disabled and 1 in 8 are senior citizens. CUMAC's work relies heavily on donations from individuals and groups, and is also made possible by state, county and agency grants, income from our thrift shop and proceeds from fundraising events.
We continue to serve, and we need your support! For ways you can help visit our Opportunities page.
What We Achieved in 2016
- Our three pantries served over 40,000 New Jersey residents in need
- Over 2 million pounds of food and other resources were collected and distributed to our clients and a network of over 40 local agencies
- Nearly 3,000 kids benefited from our seasonal collections, school supply drive and holiday wish list program
- Our disaster relief program provided assistance to over 100 victims of fires, floods and other disasters
- Dozens of community members received job experience and training through our Pathways to Work program
- Over 30 other feeding programs were provided shared food resources & support through the Community Food Coalition
We reached more people than ever in 2016. Help us do more this year.