SPOTSWOOD, NJ - Alice's CUP Food Pantry serves any Middlesex County resident in need. Like everyone else in the borough and neighboring communities, the food pantry is feeling the impact of the coronavirus crisis. Alice's CUP is closed this week in order to make allowances for social distancing practices that will help keep the clients who rely on the panty for food as well as the volunteers safe.

"In response to the COVID-19 national emergency, we at Community of Hope Ministries and Alice’s CUP Food Pantry have done our best to continue the discussions on how best to protect our clients and volunteers, while still serving our community that needs the help the most at this time," said Jennifer Alexander. "We have continued to monitor the ongoing and rapidly changing developments. We understand that the economic impact of this crisis is staggering, and we remain here to help. In order to reduce and minimize social interactions, CUP has made the decision to make the temporary change from Client’s Choice pantry to pre-selected bags of food for easy distributions."

On Tuesday, March 24, Alice's CUP will re-open for its regularly scheduled daytime hours only. The food pantry will be enacting the following changes to help keep volunteers and patrons healthy:

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  • Clients are asked to remain in their cars and telephone the pantry at 732-251-2551 to announce their arrival.
  • A volunteer will take the client's name, make and model of their vehicle.
  • A volunteer will then bring out two pre-prepared bags of food and place them next to the vehicle so that the bags may be loaded into the car by the client.

These precautions comply with the social distancing guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

In addition to the operating changes, the pantry is facing another crisis. The average age of the volunteers who help staff the pantry is 63. Seniors are one of the high risk age brackets for contracting the coronavirus and are being asked to stay at home during this time, leaving the pantry short of volunteers.

"This places many of our volunteers directly in the high risk category for COVID-19," Alexander said." In order to continue to serve our community, we need your help. Volunteers are greatly needed to help package bags of food and to help with curb-side delivery of these bags to our clients."

The food pantry is open on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Volunteers must be 18 years of age or older.

Alice's CUP is asking any students or other residents who have found themselves at home during the coronavirus crisis and are interested in volunteering for the next few weeks to please contact the pantry by email at communityhope@comcast.com. Interested volunteers can also send the food pantry a message via their Facebook page.