TOUCH and partners are responding to the COVID Pandemic
CHARITY SEES THE NEED NOT THE CAUSE
TOUCH New Jersey, Inc. a food distribution alliance was formed in 2003 operating as a “shopping food pantry” in and around the city of Camden, growing gradually and incorporating in 2007. TOUCH New Jersey has been operating in North Camden since 2015 and has impacted the local residents to the extent that over 10,000 pounds of food are distributed each Wednesday. TOUCH New Jersey addresses poverty in the poorest neighborhood of the poorest city in America by providing food and resources to individuals and needy families that survive at or below the poverty level.
The present all-volunteer food Pantry is based in the New Beginnings Church at 549 State Street. The pantry is open each Wednesday for 4 hours, allowing low-income, elderly and disabled residents to “shop” for fresh fruit, vegetables, meats, dairy, bread and other food staples. TOUCH’s operations are staffed by volunteers, currently “rescuing” and distributing food to an average of 350 families per week in all of the outreaches. As a certified agency with Philabundance, TOUCH New Jersey receives foodstuffs from ACME supermarkets throughout South Jersey as well as the Walmarts and the Philabundance Produce Hub in South Philadelphia.
TOUCH New Jersey over the years maintains the original food pantry and has become a food distribution ALLIANCE with many charitable organizations. TOUCH New Jersey also holds positions on committees and boards for Camden based social initiatives.
From the Executive Director, June 2020
Nothing compares to the experiences presented to society in the year 2020…and the same can be said for TOUCH New Jersey!
In short order we have dealt with a pandemic that has shaken our wellbeing, our economy and in short order, our way of life. While juggling the health requirements necessary to address a spreading virus an outrageous act of police violence committed in the name of “Protect and Serve” ignited civil rights anger and threatens to challenge the tenants of racism still plainly evident throughout our land.
In the midst of these society markers TOUCH has been given an unusual opportunity to act as a lotion to the scars that threaten to inflict even more pain to those in need of food. On a typical, non-pandemic week, as a Philabundance agency, TOUCH would pickup, deliver, register, stock and distribute an average of 12,000 pounds of non-prepared food in Camden, New Jersey. Gradually, TOUCH was establishing a coterie of partnerships in both the non-profit and for-profit environment using its food currency in an effort to establish itself as a “go to” food outreach in the Camden environment.
Then March 2020 came and commonality was obliterated. Unemployment exacerbated, almost all interpersonal opportunities disappeared, government shut down, the economy nosedived and while society stayed at home the needy were left without sources for basic needs given their limited resources. While the months of March and April left TOUCH with scaled down resources given the limited ability to pick up food from the Acme Markets which had been stripped barren we survived and never closed for a single day. Seemingly as a reward for our dedication our prayers were answered and programing administered by Philabundance and funded by the USDA showered and abundance of daily food deliveries of produce, milk, dairy and meats. Such deliveries allowed TOUCH to increase its feeding opportunities from one day per week to three days per wee., It also generated additional feeding sources operating simultaneous to the State Street Pantry. Currently TOUCH is partnering weekly with the Camden County Freeholders in rotating locations throughout Camden County where an average of 300 families are served nutritious foods to address hunger needs.
Also, TOUCH has directed foods for the needy to Marlton, N.J., Clementon, N.J., East Camden, N.J., Mt. Airy in Philadelphia, Camden County College in Blackwood, N.J. and soon will provide feeding opportunities in Collingswood and Lawnside. In the midst of this growth TOUCH has received coverage from Channel 6 News, National Public Radio, Eyewitness News, the Courier Post and recently received an unabashed endorsement from United States Congressman Donald Norcross. TOUCH has stepped forward and with the help of Philabundance has taken a major step towards fulfilling its mission of “challenging hunger one person at a time.”
As the effect of he virus seems to flatline and society sheds its somnolence TOUCH will move back toward its typical feeding system as we look to retain the new-found partnerships with the likes of The South Jersey Food Bank which has been a Godsend with its federal-based foodstuffs necessary for distribution in the North Camden neighborhoods.
No depiction of the recent history of TOUCH would be complete without a personal thanks to those TOUCH volunteers that continued to make TOUCH work without missing a single scheduled food distribution opportunity. My heartfelt thanks to Jon’ah, Paul, P Diddy, Gunny, Carl, Mike, Michelle, Dorrie, Nupur, Chink, Debbie, Chris, Alexis, Juanita, Jim, Michele, Mike L, Mark H and all other volunteers who helped TOUCH perform beyond my wildest dreams. You are truly heroes and should be recognized accordingly.
Stay well and look for continued help when the need for food becomes critical. It’s what we do!
FEED THE NEEDY IN THE SENIOR COMMUNITY
Let us remember our senior community and show our love to our elderly by feeding them.
PROVIDE NUTRITION FOR STRUGGLING FAMILIES
Nutrition is for everyone. Help us nurture the families who need our help.
PROVIDE EMERGENCY FOOD FOR THOSE IN CRISIS
We can lessen people’s crisis and make them feel loved by providing emergency food.
We’re low income,fixed income.[TOUCH pantry] supplements our groceries so we don’t starve to death.”
This pantry allows me to get meat ….I can prepare ,meals for myself and others.
Good Morning Gerald:
It was such a pleasure to meet you yesterday!! I just wanted to take a moment to let you know how grateful CLHI, Betsy and I are for partners like you. Your kindness has allowed us to provide 30 North Camden families with food staples over the holidays. I attached for you the card we placed in each basket delivered to the families. We are very appreciative of your efforts, which allowed us to serve our community. It was great working with you and we hope we can partner together again in the future. Thank you again. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!
Thank you for all you do to help us feed students. Through you and your donors we are able to feed students lunch every day from 11:00 to 2:00. The majority of the food (99%) comes from Touch NJ, once in a while we get a random donation from elsewhere. So far this semester we have provided 3700+ lunches.
Below is an external link to our food statistics. In theory, I believe the link can be shared with anyone (network security is tight on campus). Let me know if you have any issues with accessing the info.
Without you this program would not be possible. Thank you again on behalf of all the students.
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering
Good Morning School Leaders:
This morning, I was blessed to have a meeting with representatives from the TOUCH NJ Food Pantry based in North Camden. Weekly, TOUCH NJ gives our 2000 pounds of food to Camden residents each week through a variety of places, including 3 schools in the city.
Mr. Gerald Davis, who is CCed in this email explained that TOUCH will be getting even more food and sincerely wants to see to it that no student in our schools goes hungry. The food is FREE. Delivery is FREE…all they need is you support and a list of students who can benefit from having what most of us take for granted – access to food.
Mr Davis (856.803.3030) is good people and is committed to the cause of feeding the hungry. Please do not hesitate to reach out to him for the sake of our children.
Thanks for all you folks do!
Dr. Keith E. Benson
Camden Education Association
Camden Education Association
Donation Eases the Strains of Pandemic
April 23. Telford, Pennsylvania
The quiet of largely deserted rural roads was broken by two trucks, headed to a hub of activity. The loading bays at Godshall’s Quality Meats were filled with company trucks and trailers from a half dozen retailers. When the two unmarked trucks backed up to the doors, a stream of cases were loaded in on their way to Camden. This donation was headed to the Touch New Jersey food pantries and could not have been more timely.
“Godshall’s donations provided breakfasts to people who haven’t eaten breakfast in weeks “ Gerald Davis explains. Davis is Executive Director at Touch New Jersey Food Alliance, operating two food pantries in Camden and Pennsauken, New Jersey. Both facilities are in what’s classified as “Food Deserts”, areas without adequate nutrition available even in the best of times. Urban areas are often most effected by difficult situations, and the Covid 19 pandemic impacted New Jersey disproportionately. Scores of people found themselves without work and with many stores closed. “We’re seeing a lot of new people, folks who never expected to need our services, coming to us for the first time, up about thirty percent. The need is very real.”
Back in Telford, that need was answered. “We’re happy to help whenever we can.” Ron Godshall, President of Godshall’s Quality Meats stated. “We see it as our patriotic duty at this time to execute a three point plan: Keep our family of employee owners safe, keep the great American food supply safe and flowing, and keep folks fed, especially in hard times.” Godshall’s has been succeeding on all fronts. Rigorous new standards of hand washing, sanitizing, protective gear and distancing are in force everywhere. Protective barriers were proactively installed and visors were commissioned early, now worn throughout the production area. Far from shuttered, Godshall’s is a blur of determined activity, adapted to a new reality, and purposeful in the goal of filling increased orders from retailers whose customers now prepare nearly all meals at home.
“But we saw opportunity in the inventory of food service items made available by the temporary closure of restaurants and food service institutions”. A call to Mr Davis at Touch New Jersey put their intake crew in action, picking up the large donation and getting it to their pantries, which are open four hours a day to serve the needs of low-income, elderly, and disabled citizens. The haul of bacons and other smoked meats was distributed in just three hours.
“That’s a win-win” Godshall and Davis agreed.
Office of Philanthropy
Lourdes Health Foundation
READY TO BECOME A VOLUNTEER ?
TOUCH New Jersey coordinates and administers an all-volunteer food Pantry which is based in the New Beginnings Church at 549 State Street. The pantry is open each Wednesday for 4 hours, allowing low-income, elderly and disabled residents to “shop” for fresh fruit, vegetables, meats, dairy, bread and other food staples. TOUCH’s operations are staffed by volunteers, currently “rescuing” and distributing an average of 9500 pounds of food per week.