Health & Wellness

Hunger Awareness Month Is Here

Long time volunteer Pam Rogers, left, helps a food pantry member with their 'shopping experience' at the Holy Trinity-West Orange Food Pantry. Credits: Cynthia Cumming

WEST ORANGE, NJ - Hunger in America...hunger in New Jersey...hunger in West Orange?  September is Hunger Awareness month, and while most Americans, including West Orange residents, have food to put on their tables each day, the overall numbers are staggering.   Over 12% of all New Jersey residents suffer from hunger, and currently 1 in 5 New Jersey children is food insecure. The 2010 census for West Orange reports that  there are 11,874 children between the ages of 0-19.  That would mean that 20% of those children, or 2,375 - is food insecure in West Orange alone. 

On September 20, United Presbyterian Church on Old Indian Road will be screening the first showing of the documentary "A Place At the Table" which chronicles the issue of hunger in America, at 7:00 pm.  It will be followed by a panel discussion comprised of Diane Riley from the Community Food Bank of New Jersey; Lachell Miller, Dietician at Shoprite-West Orange, and Cynthia Cumming, Food Pantry Administrator at the Holy Trinity-West Orange Food Pantry.

Issues raised in the 90 minute documentary will be discussed by panel members, such as the Relationship between hunger, poverty and obesity; Food access: cost, transportation and other limitations; Hunger and health; Food assistance in America; and Role of Schools.

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Approximately 33% of West Orange Public School students qualify for free or reduced price lunches. Between 400-500 people per month receive food from the Holy Trinity-West Orange Food Pantry, and 50% of those are children. One of the goals of the food pantry in 2013-2014  is to work with the school district to identify families that need assistance but are not aware of the food pantry and what it provides. The food pantry partners with the Community Food Bank in Hillside and Meeting Emergency Needs With Dignity, a non-denominational offshoot of Catholic Charities.  In addition, the pantry applies for grants, fundraises, and receives monetary and food contributions from the community that keep the pantry in operation.

United Presbyterian Church, the Community Food Bank of Hillside, MEND, and the Holy Trinity-West Orange Food Pantry would like to encourage the West Orange Community to attend the showing of A Place at the Table on September 20 and learn more about hunger in America.

To find out more about the Holy Trinity-West Orange Food Pantry, email Cynthia Cumming, the Food Pantry Administrator, at, and "Like" their facebook page at

To find out more about the Community Food Bank of Hillside, go to

To find out more about Meeting Emergency Needs With Dignity (MEND) go to




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