Free hot meals are United Passaic Organization’s latest attempt to tackle food insecurity

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originally published: 06/13/2022

(PASSAIC, NJ) — A food truck parked outside Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church in Passaic Saturday morning, but it was no ordinary food truck service. Hungry customers walked away from the food truck with full plates of breakfast food and it was all free!

United Passaic Organization enlisted fellow community action agency United Community Corporation of Newark to bring its UCC Cafe mobile food program to Passaic. Under the supervision and instructions of the UPO, the UCC cafe provided fifty hot breakfasts consisting of pre-prepared eggs, potatoes, turkey sausage and bialys, and distributed 100 bags of groceries to the community.

If you missed the opportunity to benefit from this service, don’t worry, the UCC café will be back at Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church every Saturday to distribute hot meals and groceries thanks to the support of the United Passaic organization.

Free hot meals are United Passaic Organization's latest attempt to tackle food insecurity

“A food truck is a food truck. No one would ever know that someone was getting a free meal,” said UPO Executive Director Dr. Janelle C. Hall. “No one would ever apply any stigma to them because they stand in front of a regular food truck that supports their dignity and integrity no matter what their needs.”

Saturday’s event served 400 people and UPO’s reimagined full-service pantry, which cut its ribbon May 24 at Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church, served 700 people. The fully operational pantry includes groceries available to the community and the UJAMAA Mobile Cafe community refrigerator, which is stocked with healthy, restaurant-quality comfort foods thanks to the Coalition for Equity in Food and Health. health. The pantry is operational every Tuesday and Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

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“I didn’t expect it all to come together so quickly,” Hall said. “However, I am delighted. It’s amazing and something the community needed. Now is the time to strike to reassure the people of Passaic that the UPO is here to stay with them and their needs in this time of food inflation. We are here to provide a helping hand, not a helping hand.

UPO’s next helping hand to the community will complement its wide range of services as it wages war on food insecurity in Passaic County. Beginning Friday, June 24, UPO will begin hosting nutritional and healthy cooking classes at Mt. Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church. Classes will vary in topics but will almost always return to the common theme of eating nutritionally on a budget. Classes will also address health needs such as controlling cholesterol, diabetes, and other diet-related generational diseases.

Free hot meals are United Passaic Organization's latest attempt to tackle food insecurity

The first class will teach its participants how to make ice cream. Due to limited capacity, it is recommended that customers register for nutrition classes by calling: (973) 472-2478.

“It’s summertime, so the Ice Cream Shop is perfect for breaking the ice for the fourth element of this imaginary pantry suite,” Hall said. “It pretty much seals this suite of services that we provide to the community as we try to reimagine the pantry narrative. I’m so excited that it all came together.

Photos courtesy of United Passaic Organization

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