NUTLEY, NJ - Members of the Franklin Reformed Church congregation marched in Nutley's 99th annual Memorial Day parade on Monday as a part of the 'Carts for Caring' ministry. 2018 marks the third year in a row that the congregants marched to benefit the food pantry operation of Nutley Family Service Bureau.
Rev. Jill Fenske of Franklin Reformed Church, is known in town for putting faith into action. She was joined by fellow congregants and Eileen Painter, Executive Director of Nutley Family Service Bureau collecting canned food items for those in need. The group gathered in the Oval, with carts on loan from Nutley Park ShopRite, then rolled with the parade on a circular route that took them up Chestnut Street, across Passaic Ave, down Centre St. to Franklin, eventually returning to the oval.
Memorial Day is often referred to as the unofficial start of summer, but for people working with supplemental nutrition programs, summer is also the start of the time of year that donations drop just as need rises. Donations of food always hit peaks at Thanksgiving, and then again at the end of the year, but summer is traditionally a slow period for donations.
Need for supplemental nutrition increases during the summer months as children in free and reduced lunch programs at schools suddenly don't have access to one meal a day once the school year comes to an end.
As the group made their way back to the Nutley Family Service Bureau annex to unload the cars, NFSB director Painter said "Once again I was humbled by the overwhelming generosity and sense of community in Nutley. Residents of all ages lined the parade route, waving hello, making contributions, and offering wishes of encouragement. Many thanks to Reverend Jill, Franklin Reformed Church and Nutley Park ShopRite. We could not continue our mission with the support of our dedicated community partners."
Painter also enjoyted the parade, "The parade was a perfect tribute to our fallen heroes and a testimony to the meaning of service to those in need."
The NFSB food pantry is temporarily stationed at St. Paul's Church on Franklin Ave. while renovations continue at the Chestnut St. site.
The NFSB pantry operation serves veterans, seniors, the disabled, and residents experiencing short-term financial set-back due to serious illness.