Over the past two weeks, HomeFront has adjusted how it delivers its services to the thousands of families who are currently homeless or hungry in our local community. The nonprofit will have to rise to meet the greatly expanded need which it is already seeing.
At HomeFront’s Family Campus, where 38 local families who are homeless live temporarily, “we’ve had to get really creative” says Liza Peck, the Campus Support Services Liaison. “We have a new mom who is using Skype to get nurse-parenting coaching, in addition to the support our onsite staff provides.” For every family, extra effort has been made to provide what’s needed, keep clients healthy, and keep spirits up. Computers are available to children for remote schooling, and for adults to continue GED and job certification studying. Tutoring is available by phone from volunteers and from HomeFront’s Hire Expectations staff. Families can also take turns in the Campus’ ArtSpace therapeutic art room, dance to music being piped in around the building, and each child received activity bags to keep them smiling. “Families were especially excited last week,” says Peck, “when donated iPads were given out with access to Disney Plus.”
HomeFront has also changed its operations to help those in need throughout the community. Staff delivered food bags and essentials last week to over 150 struggling families in the county, and also to individuals living in local motels. A new distribution area has also been set up at the HomeFront headquarter’s back dock, configured to distribute and collect groceries and other urgently needed items at a social distance. HomeFront case managers are manning phone lines to keep in touch with their clients and to respond to new families needing help . “This is a very challenging time” says Connie Mercer, founder and CEO of HomeFront. “We are already hearing from many of our clients who have lost their jobs as a result of business closings. We are also seeing an unprecedented number of new faces on our food distribution days. But, I am in awe of how many of our friends have reached out to see how they can help, even at a time when they are greatly concerned for their own families. Although we know the worst is still to come, that spirit of generosity and caring gives me hope.”
For community members interested in how they can help, HomeFront has provided the following information:
- If you are considering charitable giving during this time, we are grateful if you would please keep us in mind. We have already lost over $100,000 related to COVID-19 on unbudgeted expenses and losses from normal revenue sources; these costs will continue to rise dramatically as more of our families are becoming directly affected and as we cancel planned spring fundraisers. If you are interested in making a donation, please visit www.homefrontnj.org/donate or call 609-989-9417 x 107.
- If you are already out shopping for necessities or are able to shop online, consider a donation of our most needed items: diapers (sizes 4, 5, 6 and Pull-Ups/Easy Ups in all sizes), baby wipes, canned goods (protein like chicken/tuna, ravioli, beef stew, soup, and fruit), baby formula, dry cereal, and shelf stable milk (Horizon/Natrel/Parmalat or powdered milk). Online shipments can be delivered to 1880 Princeton Ave, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648. We are keeping an Amazon wish list updated at http://bit.ly/HFMarch20Items but please be patient because items are going out of stock online quickly.