April 15, 2020

Send Hunger Packing Founder on How Princeton is Feeding Princeton

To the Editor:

Amidst difficult weeks, lights of hope appear in our town, the lights provided by many among us, rising to the occasion in small ways and in large ways. And all of these ways matter.

There are numerous needs identified and yet to be identified, but the search is on. Chief among these needs is sustenance, what we eat at the beginning of the day and what we eat at the end.

To this end, Send Hunger Packing Princeton (SHUPP) is proud to communicate and collaborate with the mayor and Council members, the superintendent of schools and board members, with Mercer Street Friends, Arm in Arm, Jewish Family and Children’s Service (JFCS), and many, many other organizations and individuals.

The goal is to provide meals to those known and those not yet known in the community of Princeton we call our home.

Every day, this group of collaborators moves on, makes decisions, executes and revises as time marches on, as the end of the chaos being caused by the pandemic is not in sight.

A brief recap. The school, using buses as delivery vehicles, began immediately to deliver breakfast and lunches to its 500 identified free and reduced lunch clients by providing for a two week package covering Monday through Friday. The second delivery provided for a month’s worth of food. Subsequent deliveries will be for a week at a time. Initial deliveries included shelf stable food. Going forward, lunches will be prepared meals.

As for the weekends, the school continues to facilitate the delivery of the SHUPP breakfast and lunch meals. The first delivery included the already staged, for the existing 150 self-identified, no qualifications required beneficiaries. The second delivery, at the request of the schools, included all 525 students including all in the school program and all in the SHUPP program.

But what about dinners for the children and what about their families? The conversation was started by the superintendent of schools. Can SHUPP help provide dinners for all these families? For all week? After deliberation the answer was yes. And the question of what and how belabored by many both inside and outside interested parties. A decision was made to provide 2,450 packages of four person prepared dinners (equivalent to approximately 1,500 people) to be delivered to all these families to cover a week’s worth of needed meals using the existing system and infrastructure.

But what about the rest of the Princeton Community? There are still many within the community, the old, the young, the differently abled, and those who could care for themselves before. What about them? SHUPP, Human Services, Arm in Arm, JFCS, Share My Meals, Princeton Mobile Pantry, and others are all helping.

Opportunities taken. On Thursday, April 9, SHUPP organized, with Share My Meals, the delivery of meals prepared by The Meeting House restaurant using frozen turkeys provided by Mercer Street Friends.

All the organizations mentioned here are working towards the same goal. Developing the communication systems and identifying who has and who needs food is ongoing.

To donate, one can go to www.shupprinceton.org or directly to the other organizations. Thank you to the Princeton community!

Ross Wishnick
Chair, Princeton Human Services Commission
Founder, Send Hunger Packing Princeton
Edgerstoune Road