PATERSON, NJ - “Our mission is simple, we help the poor,” said Rev. Msgr. Vincent E. Puma upon founding Eva’s Kitchen in the basement of St. John’s Cathedral.
That was 30 years ago and the social service agency has remained true to that mission over three decades. On Thursday, Eva's Village held a celebration of its anniversary.
The organization saluted the countless volunteers who came to Puma's aid since Eva's creation.
These were folks who cooked, served and cared for the growing population of hungry and homeless people who came to Eva's for help. Many of these volunteers continue their ministry to Eva’s serving the noon meal each day. This work and support has helped Eva’s Village establish a commendable record in working with the community to face challenges. As such, Eva’s Village is widely recognized as a model organization - one that received accolades last year from the state Department of Community Affairs - for providing positive and sustainable outcomes in the lives of the hungry, homeless and addicted.
“When we started this effort 30 years ago, we never dreamed it would become the comprehensive organization we know it as today,” commented Dale Calvert, president of the board of directors.
Eva’s Village provides 14 programs to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, treat the addicted, provide medical and dental care to the uninsured, and assist in sustainable recovery by providing transitional and affordable housing, job assistance and social enterprise initiatives and, the first and only peer driven recovery center in New Jersey.
Although it has taken several years, the expansion of Eva’s Kitchen and Eva’s Healthcare is finally completed and was the highlight of the 30th anniversary celebration open house on April 19th. The soup kitchen program has experienced more than a 23% increase since 2007 in the hungry and homeless coming for a hot mid-day meal. The much needed expansion increased the capacity from 240 seats to 400.
The original clinic space became cramped, outdated and lacked private exam areas for clients. A relocated clinic now includes four private exam rooms and two dental suites to serve the ever growing uninsured population in Paterson.
“We are proud of Eva’s Village and the invaluable services they provide for the poor, homeless, and recovering addicts,” said Walter J. VanBrunt, president and CEO, Delta Dental of New Jersey. “Our Foundation has partnered with Eva’s for almost 10 years, awarding nearly a quarter of a million dollars to support their dental clinic, helping to improve the oral health of Eva’s clients. Our Foundation looks forward to Eva’s Village continuing to build upon their legacy—making a difference in the lives of others and remaining the place ‘where hope begins.’ ”
“We are happy that many of our donors and volunteers joined us in celebrating our 30th year of helping the poor,” commented Marie Reger, executive director. “Eva’s Village has been able to grow and expand its services to meet the ever-increasing need because of the support of our dedicated volunteers and donors.”
Celebration of The 30th anniversary will also be the highlight of Eva’s Benefit Gala on November 8, 2012. Join us for a celebration of the hope provided to thousands since the founding of Eva’s Kitchen in 1982, and for all that is yet to come!
1982: Kitchen opens in basement of St. John’s Cathedral, Paterson
1984: Emergency Overnight Shelter for Men
1985: Emergency Overnight Shelter for Mothers and Children
1986: Emergency Overnight Shelter for Women
1986: Halfway House for Men
1990: Halfway House for Women
1994: Primary Care Clinic
1996: "Eva's Village" opens at 393 Main Street
2000: The Msgr. Vincent E. Puma Center for Women and Children
2001: Transitional Apartments for Mothers and Children
2001: New Emergency Overnight Shelter for Women
2001: New Emergency Overnight Shelter for Men in the "Sister Cathy Center"
2003: Primary Dental Clinic
2004: Intensive Outpatient Program
2006: Men's Transitional Housing
2008: New Hope Residence for Mothers and Children
2009: Recovery Center
2010: Halfway House for Mothers with Children
2010: Eva’s Village Apartments
2011: Kitchen expansion
2011: Halfway House for Men expansion
2011: New Primary Care Medical and Dental Clinic