PATERSON, NJ- In a show of unanimity, the Paterson City Council acted to name a section of street after local nonprofit Eva’s Village, in honor of the anti-poverty organization’s contributions to the city, at their Tuesday meeting.
The area of Main Street between Grand and Slater Streets will now also be known as “Eva’s Village Way” in commemoration of the group’s 35 years of service to the community.
In 1982, Monsignor Vincent Puma and the Paterson Council of Priests saw the devastation that hunger was inflicting on Paterson residents and decided to fight back.
Often espousing that "when you take someone’s hand, you can’t drop it until they stand on their own two feet,” Puma worked together with the rest of the council to create Eva’s Kitchen, a soup kitchen based in the basement of St. John’s Cathedral on Grand Street.
Named after Sister Eva Hernandez, Missionary Sister of the Immaculate Conception and kitchen director, the program quickly began feeding hundreds of people a day.
Years later, the kitchen has become a village that combats poverty through a diverse set of programs that include the food kitchen, addiction treatment, housing shelters, and educational training courses.
“Paterson’s strength comes from the desire of so many community servants to give generously to lift up others,” said Councilman Fifth Ward Councilman Luis Velez. “Taking ownership means making a difference, and that’s what Eva’s Village does every day.
“Words cannot express the gratitude that I have for all that you do,” said Councilwoman Maritza Davila. “From the bottom of my heart, and Our Father in Heaven, thank you.”
Community Outreach Director Angela Fields was present to thank the council for the recognition and speak about what it means Eva’s Village. She was joined by President Mark Schmit and VP of Missions Gregory Floyd.
“I’m proud to be a Patersonian, this feels like a great mark in history for us,” said Fields. She echoed the organization’s slogan, adding that Eva’s Village is “where hope begins.”
For those who are struggling with the pitfalls of poverty, Eva’s Village is located on 393 Main St, and can be contacted at 937-523-6220.