HAWTHORNE, NJ - The days leading up to Thanksgiving are usually a flurry of phone calls, shopping, and coordination of family members and recipes. With the increase in COVID-19 cases jumping in the last few weeks, this year will undoubtedly be different for many Hawthorne residents. While federal pandemic assistance is set to expire in a number of weeks, many people are still on unemployment or reduced hours. Local food pantries like Martha's Pantry at St. Clement's Church are helping to fill the gaps for residents of Hawthorne and surrounding areas.

On Saturday, November 21, volunteers with Martha's Pantry helped over 140 clients with bags of pre-packed groceries, mostly donations from the Hawthorne community. In addition to the usual bag of non-perishable items, St. Clement's Church was able to give Shop-Rite gift cards to random families who came through the pick up line. "We hope that this can help people during a really rough time. We just celebrated our one-year anniversary, and in that year we went from helping 4 people to helping over 1400, so there's a need here," one volunteer told TAPinto Hawthorne.

"We have been very fortunate to have the support of our parish and community," pantry director Linda Heerema told TAPinto Hawthorne. "Totowa Girl Scout Troop 96804 and Fair Lawn Junior Girl Scout Troop 97432 both made generous donations to us. We are now also working with the First Reformed Church next door. Their parish is collecting rice, pasta, and cereal for us, and they made a big donation during our food drive on Halloween, for which we are very thankful."

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Martha's Pantry is still in need of toiletries such as men's and women's razors, shampoo, body wash, bar soap, feminine products, deodorants, toothbrushes and toothpaste. They are also collecting paper goods such as toilet paper and paper towels, items currently in short supply in many supermarkets.

If readers wish to donate to the Pantry, the Office is open on Tuesday and Thursday from 11-5, or call to make an appointment to drop off a donation. If you wish to support the Pantry monetarily you can send a donation via Venmo: @stclements271 (please note it is for Martha's Pantry). Checks or gift cards to Dollar Tree or Walmart are also accepted.  Please mail your check or gift card to the Parish Office at 271 Lafayette Avenue, Hawthorne, NJ 07506 with a memo that it is to be used for Martha's Pantry.

Martha’s Pantry will next be open on Saturday, December 5, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. If residents are in need and not able to visit the church during these hours, a volunteer can meet them at the church by appointment or a bag can be delivered. The pantry can be reached via the church office at (973) 427-8118 or through their Facebook page.

Martha's Pantry is one of a few food pantries in Hawthorne.  The borough maintains a non-perishable food pantry through the Health Department, as Mayor Goldberg has said in his letters to the borough.


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