Hawthorne, NJ – The Senator John A. Girgenti Civic League met for its annual food drive to benefit CUMAC, a Paterson-based non-profit which caters to the needy community with food distribution, disaster relief aid, and a thrift store.
Senator Girgenti introduced CUMAC trustee Mel Hioki who spoke about the mission and scope of CUMAC and thanked those attending the Civic League for their donations of food and other non-perishable products. Hioki then asked the new executive director of CUMAC, Mark Dingalsan, who has a background in working with at-risk youths, to address the audience.
Dingalsan, with a warm and engaging personality, illustrated in very real and human terms the complex operation which CUMAC maintains to address the needs of thousands of people from Englewood to Newark who seek out CUMAC’s services. CUMAC, he said, seeks to “break the cycle of poverty”. Several people who had been beneficiaries of CUMAC are now employed with that same organization.
Their facilities have a fleet of trucks, as well as refrigerators and freezers, making them an asset to other food pantries in the area which do not have the same degree of food storage and distribution. “All our vegetables are fresh,” Dingalsan said, highlighting the need for people to have access to nutritious food. CUMAC has freezers for meat, an important stable for most diets. For people who have lost their homes or been otherwise displaced, with a referral they can obtain relief in the form of donated bedding and furniture.
CUMAC is always in need of donations as the number of people who depend on such services is not insignificant. Products, money, and volunteering are all welcomed. Tens of thousands of New Jerseyans make use of assistance and charities, meaning that without the continued generous support of donors, the operations could not continue.
A Civic League member asked Hioki what other non-food things might be needed. “Bed linens, blankets, winter coats, shoes, especially with winter coming on,” he said.
The donated food was delivered to the CUMAC facility in Paterson the following morning and the Civic League donors had brought 555 pounds of products, thirty pounds more than 2016.
Further information about CUMAC can be found on their website, https://www.cumac.org/