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Monday, June 17, 2024

Many Happy Hands Make Quick Work Fighting Food Insecurity

This young volunteer enjoyed helping sort supplies on November 4 for a crew of as many as 15 who regularly helped facilitate the food pantry distribution at the First United Methodist Church of Blairstown (FUMC-NJ) on the first Saturday of each month. Photo by D.L. Dunn, 11/2023.

From food of all kinds, meats and dairy to clothing, pet food, toiletries and other products donated to make living easier, local houses of worship have joined together to adopt a Saturday, Sunday and other days so people need not worry about going without.

One good thing resulting from the recent pandemic is that at the First United Methodist Church of Blairstown food pantry on the first Saturday of each month, food orders are selected according to a shopping list available online or at the church. The desired items are then gathered together and brought out to the vehicle (contactless) or patrons are welcome to come inside to seek last minute items.

One of the back storage rooms at FUMC-NJ full of donated items stacked on shelves and in about four huge refrigerators. Photo by D.L. Dunn, 11/2023.

Food pantry assistance for families experiencing food insecurity is reported by NJ Spotlight News to be 280% higher this year. Indeed, on November 4, cars were stacking up outside at 9 a.m. The event was still going full blast at 1 p.m.

Chief organizer of the pantry at First United Methodist Church of Blairstown, New Jersey, Claire Smith said they helped about 60 families this time. Strangely, Saint Jude’s Catholic Church reported a decline in the number of families they normally help at their food pantry, set to happen on the fourth Saturday of the month. For times, see Warren County’s pantry listing below.

Donations of fresh eggs and produce many times come from local farmers and markets. Many donations are received from Norwescap, whose mission and vision is stated on their website as follows:

Norwescap’s work throughout northwestern New Jersey empowers individuals and families to move away from the crisis of poverty, and towards a future where they can thrive. Our mission is to strengthen communities by creating opportunities that improve the lives of low-income individuals and families, and our vision is to help build a community that transforms poverty into opportunity.

Founded in 1965 under the Johnson administration’s “War on Poverty,” and fueled by the advocacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Norwescap has grown over nearly six decades to build a comprehensive array of programs and services that, together, positively impact over 30,000 people each year.

Norwescap works to accomplish this mission through a comprehensive array of strategies, programs and services that generally fall into six categories of support:

  • Education
  • Employment
  • Financial Capacity Building
  • Health and Nutrition
  • Housing and Community Development
  • Volunteerism

For more info about Norwescap, check out their website:

Boxes can contain frozen meats donated by Norwescap, boxed goods, cleaning supplies, clothing and so much more. Photo by D.L. Dunn, 11/2023.
Boxes of free knitted items like comfy hats and scarves donated by the North Warren Knitwits plus fresh baked goods and veggies, donated for anyone in need, awaited patrons online. Photo by D.L. Dunn, 11/2023.

To restock their supplies, all are welcome to add to the food pantry at First United Methodist Church of Blairstown or any other participating facility. The following items are listed on their website as being in short supply:

  • Pork and beans
  • Beef and chicken broth
  • Mac and cheese
  • Taco kits
  • Canned carrots
  • Knorr pasta sides
  • Pudding cups
  • Cookies
  • Yellow mustard
  • Ketchup
  • Shaving cream
  • Disposable razors

Donations may be dropped off in the red collection bin by the kitchen entrance of the church.

According to the Warren County website for food pantries near 07825, the following sites can be tried for assistance, but best to call the pantry for details and requirements:

Warren County

AllamuchyPanther Valley Ecumenical Church
1490 Route 517
908-852-5444Call for availabilityAvailable M-F 10 a.m. to noon
Must call to arrange an appointment for alternate times.
AlphaUnited Presbyterian Church of Alpha 859 High Street
Alpha residents only. Call for availabilityN/A
BelvidereBelvidere United Methodist Church
219 Hardwick Street Belvidere
908-475-4065Belvidere residents only. MWF
9 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
Contact: Vicki Froehlich
5 p.m. to
7 p.m.
9:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
BlairstownFirst United Methodist Church of Blairstown
10 Stillwater Road
908-362-6693First Saturday of each month
9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Same availability. Must remain in vehicles while completing order form. Bag of food handed car side.
BlairstownEvangelical Free Church of Blairstown
11 Lambert Road
908-362-8979Second Saturday of each month, 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.No changes
BlairstownFirst Presbyterian Church of Blairstown
35 Main Street, Blairstown
908-362-5769Third Saturday of each month
9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
No changes
BlairstownSt. Jude’s Catholic Church
7 Eisenhower Road
908-362-6444Fourth Saturday of each month
9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Contact: Barbara
FinesvilleCalvary Bible Fellowship Church
191 Route 627
908-995-7678Wednesdays 9 a.m. to noonCall
908-405-5673 for a Wednesday pick-up appointment.
HackettstownChurch of the Covenant Orthodox
319 Blau Road Hackettstown
908-850-8910Find Deacon after Mass:
Saturday Service 6 p.m.
Sunday Service 10:40 a.m.
Call before going. Open Sundays
9 a.m. to noon
HackettstownDrakestown Church
6 Church Road
908-852-4460Second and Fourth Monday of each month, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.Open Fourth Monday of the month from
2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
HackettstownSeventh Day Adventist Church
927 Route 517
973-214-7262Second Wednesday of each month, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.N/A
HackettstownTrinity United Methodist Church
213 Main Street
908-852-3020Monday through Thursday
9 a.m. to noon
Same availability. Added Tuesday evenings
5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
HopeSt. John’s United Methodist Church
354 High Street
908-459-5759First, second, third Monday of each month, 9 a.m. to noonSame availability. Closes at 11:30 a.m.
KnowltonKnowlton United Methodist Church
503 Route 94 Columbia
908-496-0161Last Saturday of each month, 10 a.m. to noonN/A
LopatcongFellowship Outreach Ministry
300 Cromwell Street
908-859-0134Second Friday of each month
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Third Saturdayof each month, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Back to regular operation.
PhillipsburgBlessed Hope Church of the Nazarene
42 Mercer Street Phillipsburg
908-454-5070Call for food pantry availability
Soup kitchen:
2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays
PhillipsburgBranching Out Food Pantry
340 Anderson Street Phillipsburg
908-454-2579Call for availabilityN/A
PhillipsburgCatholic Charities
387 South Main Street Phillipsburg
908-859-5447NJ residents only / proof of residency and income required
Monday through Thursday
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Thursday 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
No proof of residence/income required at the time. Intake by phone for new clients.
PhillipsburgRiver of Life Presbyterian Church
445 South Main Street
908-213-1377First and third Saturday of each month
10 a.m. to noon
Only open the first and third Saturday of each month.
PhillipsburgSt. Luke’s Episcopal Church
500 Hillcrest Blvd.
908-859-1479Second and fourth Monday of each month, 10 a.m. to noonNo changes
PhillipsburgSt. Philip & St. James Church
430 South Main Street
908-454-0112Soup kitchen only (no food pantry) second and fourth Saturday of each month
11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
No changes
Port MurrayHillcrest 7th Day Adventist Church
590 Route 57 E. Port Murray
Call for availability Contact: EstherBy appointment only
ViennaVienna United Methodist Church
232 Route 46
908-637-4340Mondays 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.No changes
WashingtonFaith Discovery33 Brass Castle Road Washington908-689-7777Every Thursday 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.Available for residents of Washington only.
WashingtonFirst Presbyterian Church of Washington a/k/a “Community Food Pantry of Washington”40 E. Church Street Washington908-689-2547Can only utilize once per month Tuesday through Friday 9:15 a.m. to 11 a.m.No changes

Desiree Dunn
Desi L. Dunn, Writer
Managing Editor at Desiree L. Dunn, LLC

Born & educated in NY with an Environmental Science degree from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Desi's family resides in Hardwick with a young teen and several spoiled pets. Considering northwest Jersey to be a true gem, her commitment to the people and environs is exemplified by the many different jobs she's had - municipal & county official, election clerk, open space plan writer, newspaper & radio journalist, grant writer, events coordinator and farm market manager as well as retail, waitressing, archaeological digger and once for a short while in a very huge warehouse.

Her favorite was as a reporter for many years with the Recorder newspapers, Blairstown Press, Paulinskill Chronicle, Gannett publications plus WNTI Public Radio producing public affairs and human interest stories on-air.

She often has her camera ready to capture interesting people and events. She's thrilled to now serve as RVE's Managing Editor, helping fellow writers hone their skills and show you the issues as well as treasures that exist in North Warren, through their eyes.