UNION, NJ – About 50 volunteers were on hand Saturday morning to help distribute about 570 boxes of fruits, vegetables, breads, salads, wraps and desserts – enough food for a family of four for a week -- via a drive-thru pantry at Jefferson School.

The food items were purchased from monetary donations received through collection efforts by MTN Organization, Inc.  MTN, founded by Yvette Anderson with co-founder Reggie Anderson, “wanted to bring some healing and much-needed blessings to the community of Union,” said Yvette.  She said some of Reggie’s classmates from Union High School, including Fred Scott, Brad Leak, and Mike Boll, reached out to MTN to see how they could help bring a drive-through pantry to Union.

Yvette said MTN has been coming to Union once a month for a year with their weekly free food pantry. “This was nothing new for us,” she said.  Every first Saturday of the month they are at the (Union Township Community Action Organization (UTCAO) location feeding families.  Their last visit was in February 2020.  COVID-19 has kept them from operating in their normal fashion, so they came up with Operate in Love, Not Fear, Yvette said.  The program allows MTN to deliver groceries on door steps, feed seniors hot meals and conduct a drive thru pantry, instead of their normal farmers market pantry.  “We wanted to still bring food to those in need but in a way that kept the community, us, and our volunteers safe,” she said.  They started packing individual boxes with groceries to feed families of four for a week that could be placed in trunks and back seats of cars, providing minimal to no contact while guaranteeing families were still being fed.  

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Yvette said MTN missed their visits to Union and sent about 20 boxes of meat in April during the height of COVID 19 when meat was hard to come by.  The boxes were  distributed by Paul Webb through the Golden Rule Lodge in Vauxhall. 

“I can’t praise everyone involved enough for the support offered, dedication and hard work we saw unfold,” said Yvette.  “From getting the boxes to Union to unloading the morning of, it was such unity in the community as we all came together to provide for the residents. Just an amazing day of giving and I am so proud of what our growing grassroots organization (MTN) was able to accomplish with the help of those who care to be the difference they want to see.”

Volunteers included Senator Cryan, Mayor Michele Delisfort, Senator Tom Kean, Township Committeeman Clifton People, Jr., Springfield Mayor Chris Capodice and Deputy Mayor Chris Weber, Department of Public Works personnel, Maxon Auto employees, Union Concerned Citizens members, and other Union and Jackson residents.

“MTN continues to Operate in Love, Not Fear believing COVID Can’t win with us,” said Yvette.  Follow MTN at AndersonsMeetTheNeed.org.