WESTFIELD, NJ — With temperatures in the 20s on Saturday, Jan. 4, a dozen young people and six adults from the First Congregational Church of Westfield bundled up and spent the morning outside of Newark Penn Station handing out meals to homeless people there. More than 20 members of the congregation’s Youth Fellowship had taken the snow day Jan. 3 to pack 300 bagged lunches plus another 80 sandwiches for that purpose.
“The Bridges Runs are always a wonderful experience for the youth,” said Associate Minister Rev. Joy Mounts. “We had a lot of fun making the sandwiches and putting together the bag lunches … But it is in handing them out that the youth truly understand the importance of what we are trying to do. Today, before we left the Bridges Outreach offices in Summit, their volunteer coordinator, Dan RosenHanst, asked us to really look around when we were in Newark and handing out the food because it is when it gets so terribly cold that the problems of homelessness become even more acute. I am not sure how many people we served today—based on the number of bag lunches we gave to each, around 75 to 80. For many of them this is their meals for the weekend. Bridges Outreach is a wonderful program and we are always happy to be able to help with a run.”