PATERSON, NJ- Over 500 Paterson families will receive a turkey and a grocery bag filled with all of the traditional staple food items to feed a family of four or more thanks to the Thanksgiving appeal launched by St. Paul’s Community Development Corporation (SPCDC) Food Pantry.

Founded in 1970 by St. Paul’s Episcopal Church as “The Community Closet” the food pantry, now under the umbrella of SPCDC, supports an average of 2,500 families annually distributing over 300,000 meals.

SPCDC was born in 1990, as sa eparate non-profit agency with a purpose of, according to their website, alleviating “the conditions of hunger, homelessness, unemployment, poverty, and illiteracy in the City of Paterson.” In addition to the Food Pantry SPCDC maintains an the Emergency Men’s Shelter, providing emergency housing for up to 40 men per night; manages the Next Step Workforce Development providing job training and placement services; and partners with the Paterson Board of Education to administer the Full Service Community Schools Initiative.

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Earlier this year SPCDC gathered over 250 volunteers to build a new playground for the students at Full Service Community School #15.

“Even with the improvements in our national economy, many of the communities that we support continue to struggle under the weight of unemployment, underemployment and stagnant wages,” said Richard Williams, Executive Director, SPCDC. “It is important for all of us at St. Paul’s Community Development Corporation, particularly during the holidays, that we provide support to as many in our community as possible, and that the support provided maintain a quality of service and a dignity that uplifts the spirits of those who seek us out.”

SPCDC has several partners in this effort including Americgroup and the Wight Foundation whose volunteers will help sort and pack 400 grocery bags for community residents; St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Christ Episcopal Church in Teaneck and the MLK Scholars Program of Seton Hall University who are hosting a Thanksgiving Community Luncheon for an estimated 300 residents on Saturday, November 18, from 12:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. at St. Paul’s on Van Houten Street; and the Kintock Group and Alpha Kappa Alpha who will be distributing the turkey and grocery bags on Tuesday, November 21.

Those interested in supporting the Thanksgiving Appeal can make a donation online up until Wednesday, November 22. SPCDC also is continuing to accept non-perishable food items for Thanksgiving, and their Food Pantry accepts nonperishable food donations year round.