Shaping Elizabeth’s New Leader Picks Up From Strong Predecessor

NJHI 2018: Upstream Action Acceleration Pulling Together: All Voices Heard and Count!


This spring, Shaping Elizabeth (SE) wished Alane McCahey a happy retirement. Alane has led SE since 2014 and her vision launched SE from an idea into a formidable presence in Elizabeth. The group has grown from seven to 40 organizations with more than 70 individual partners. 

As her last SE duty, Alane accepted the New Jersey Library Association’s (NJLA) Library Champion Award.  Ally Blumenfeld, Head of Information and Adult Services for the Elizabeth Public Library stated, “It was with deep gratitude that I nominated Shaping Elizabeth for the NJLA’s 2019 Library Service Award. SE consistently included Elizabeth Public Library as key partners and planners, allowing us to offer 45 health programs reaching nearly 900 patrons in 2018. We are indebted to its leadership team for their inclusion, advocacy, and support of the Library as we work together for a healthier community.”

Although we will miss Alane, SE’s work continues.  Meet Corey Wu-Jung, MS, RDN and Shaping Elizabeth’s Nutritionist, who is taking the helm as the new SE Project Director.

What is most rewarding for you as a leader?

Working to tackle hunger and increase the accessibility of healthier foods is rewarding. In June, our mobile market added an additional distribution date.  Residents now have access to fresh produce on the first, second, and third Thursdays of each month, through the cooperative efforts of the Community Food Bank of NJ and the Housing Authority of the City of Elizabeth.

SE is ramping up efforts to promote Summer Meals.  Last year there was a slight decrease in meals served. I want to see an increase in participation.  Therefore, a Summer Meals Kick-off is planned at one of the city’s parks and flyers promoting the program at more than 45 open locations are being distributed throughout the city. 

What new community partnerships do you hope to foster?

Some of our newest coalition members represent mental health organizations, such as Bridgeway Rehabilitation Services and Family and Children’s Services, Inc.  We’ve held our first Mental Health Task Force meeting, where a mission was developed. In addition, plans for a Mental Health First Aid Training for our coalition and a resource guide are underway.I look forward to working with organizations targeting housing issues and homelessness.  More to come in this arena.

Connect with project director Corey Wu-Jung to stay up-to-date on Shaping Elizabeth’s work.
Top photo: The Shaping Elizabeth coalition members wish Alane McCahey well with her retirement on May 16. Middle photo: Alane McCahey (l) accepts NJLA Library Champion award on behalf of Shaping Elizabeth from Ally Blumenfeld (r), Elizabeth Public Library who nominated the coalition, May 30, 2019. Bottom photo: Corey Wu-Jung, MS, RD, Shaping Elizabeth new Project Director.

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Corey Wu-Jung
The Gateway Family YMCA