SUMMIT, NJ - The Junior League of Summit (JLS) has received a $9,429 grant from the local Board of Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) -- in partnership with United Way of Greater Union County -- in support of G.R.A.C.E.'s Refrigerator, the Summit-based nonprofit's signature community outreach project.

The EFSP began in 1983 with a $50 million federal appropriation and was created by Congress to help meet the needs of the hungry and homeless population throughout the U.S. and its territories by allocating federal funds for the provision of food and shelter. Chaired by a representative of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the program is governed by a National Board composed of representatives of the American Red Cross; Catholic Charities, USA; The Jewish Federations of North America; National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA; The Salvation Army; and United Way Worldwide.

The funds from EFSP will be used to purchase fresh, healthy foods as well as household necessities for local families that would not otherwise be able to purchase for themselves. G.R.A.C.E, which stands for Giving and Receiving Assistance for Our Community’s Essentials, was founded in 2016 by JLS member and Summit local, Amanda Parrish Block following research into the issue of food insecurity revealing that one in six Summit public school students is lacking access to fresh, nutritious foods.

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The program, which is open weekly and offers nutrient-dense produce, dairy, and prepared food which is sourced from the Summit Farmers Market, local businesses, and the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, relies on the efforts of volunteers and donations to continue providing these essentials. More than 70 families, on average, depend on the community refrigerator each week.

Since its founding, it has served 120,430 pounds of fresh produce, dairy, eggs, and bagels to 18,591 individuals (including 9,790 children and 842 senior citizens.

For information on how to make a donation to the Junior League of Summit, visit jlsummit.org.