In Passaic County, as in many communities, the impact of the COVID-19 crisis can be felt at multiple levels. United Way of Passaic County Chief Executive Officer Yvonne Zuidema has reported the top issues her organization and community partners are working to address are 1) food insecurity; 2) loss of learning due to school closures, and 3) financial instability among nonprofits, especially those providing essential services.
As the coordinating point for Passaic County Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), the United Way of Passaic County is coordinating resources, services and communication among its partners to maximize each member’s impact. Here are highlights of the response efforts to address hunger in Passaic County:
- The Paterson School District is distributing student meals at 14 sites in the community and providing information about the site locations in English, Spanish, Arabic and Bengali.
- Shelters are at capacity in Passaic County, and the number of residents being placed in hotels is increasing. To serve those community members and those who continue to experience homelessness, homeless assistance providers are offering curbside meal pickup.
- The Center of United Methodist Aid to the Community (CUMAC), the county’s primary food bank, is maintaining its workforce. CUMAC is relying on staff and AmeriCorps participants, who need gloves and masks to protect themselves and the clients they serve.
To support these disaster response efforts, the United Way of Passaic County has announced a COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund for Passaic County, which will support the work of local food pantries and identify ways to support children’s literacy while school is not in session. In addition, the fund will distribute grants to Passaic County nonprofits to sustain vital nonprofit services. Learn more about the COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund for Passaic County and get involved, by visiting the United Way of Passaic County web site here.