EAST ORANGE, NJ - Isaiah House has a long history of service in East Orange as a homeless housing provider and advocate for residents in economic trouble. Recently however, the agency has faced financial difficulties of their own.
In an effort to diversify their funding options, the organization has ventured into creating a new income stream by creating their own line of spices for food.
Kristen Beveridge, Board President replies, “As many of you know, our operating budget has faced dramatic cuts in recent years due to changes in the availability of government funding. However, we believe in the vital work we do, and know that we make a tremendous impact in the lives of those most in need within our community each and every day. So, we are looking for creative and innovative ways to build awareness, involvement and funding for our organization, so that we can keep doing what we do best”.
“We realized over the summer that Isaiah House could make and sell products out of our commercially licensed kitchen. We have been actively looking for innovative ways to get the word out about the shelter as well as raise much needed funds. I put two and two together (the need for funds + the commercial kitchen) and decided to start with the idea of a simple spice mix. An A+ team was put together out of SOMA that included local recipe developer, Stacy Basko, who formulated the spice mix, Patricia Sanchez of Nice Kern Design in Maplewood (former design director of Food and Wine Magazine) as well as food photographers Robin Chase and Sue von Brachel (of Robin and Sue Food Photography). Together, we made a fantastic product that truly tastes great on everything and has the packaging of something you would find in Williams Sonoma. The mix is made by the Isaiah House staff and residents. It is so exciting to have them actively involved in this startup venture - they all feel like they are contributing to something important”.
Isaiah House has served East Orange since 1988; established as the brain child of an alliance between the Community Service Council of the Oranges and Maplewood (a division of United Way of Essex and West Hudson), the Junior League of the Oranges and Short Hills, and the Concerned Clergy of East Orange, they remain the only homeless shelter in East Orange.