SECA is leading effort to re-stock the Hands of Hope food pantry shelves with food drive on May 9

EDISON – The South Edison Community Association (SECA) is spearheading a food drive to help re-stock the shelves at the Hands of Hope food pantry.

The food pantry, based at St. James Episcopal Church on Woodbridge Avenue, needs canned vegetables, fruits and soups; canned tuna and hams; boxes of pasta; rice and macaroni and cheese; boxes of potato flakes; baking mix; cereals and oatmeal; bottled tomato sauce and other gravy flavors.

The food drive will be held from noon to 4 p.m. May 9 at Edison High School, 50 Boulevard of Eagles, off of Old Post Road.

“SECA is getting tremendous support from a diverse group of generous local organizations,” said SECA organizer Anthony Russomanno. “We are grateful so many amazing partners have pledged to help for our neediest neighbors. We hope individual residents and families will also contribute non-perishable foods on May 9 to help re-stock our local food pantry’s shelves.”

Middlesex County Deputy Director Charles Tomaro, who is a board and trustee member of Hands of Hope, said the “coronavirus pandemic is creating a greater need for food from Hands of Hope.”

“With more people jobless or temporarily furloughed, more local families are now struggling,” he said. “The demand on our local food pantry is rising.”

In 1992, Hands of Hope, Inc., a non-profit community based organization in Edison, began by founding member Jackie Godesky is the to serve the community as a food pantry/soup kitchen and a limited clothes closet.

Twenty-eight years later, the program continues to function from St. James Church at 2136 Woodbridge Ave. and is committed to providing an efficient and effective centralized system for distributing food to alleviate hunger in Middlesex County, one family at a time.

Hands of Hope annually provides bags of nourishing foods to nearly 4,000 needy Edison-area households, including senior citizens, veterans and people with disabilities. It provides hot lunches to 4,500 needy people yearly; and it distributes 300 to 350 turkeys and food bags at Thanksgiving and Christmas; plus it serves more than 500 meals at Easter.

Russomanno said the association has received widespread support from two dozen civic groups, schools, churches and labor unions, which include AFSME Local 12; BAPS Temple; Boy Scout Troop 12; Congregation Ohr Torah; the Edison Democratic Organization; Edison Firefighters IAFF Local 1197; Edison FOP Lodge 101; the Edison Italian American Club; Edison PBA Local 75; Edison Superior Officers Association; Edison Public School District and Schools Superintendent Bernard Bragen; Edison Republican Organization; Edison Township Education Association; Indian Business Association; Knights Of Columbus Council 3272 and 4885; Masjid Al Wali Mosque; OPEIU Local 32; Re-Purpose NJ; the South Asian Community Organization; Teamsters Local 469; Edison Wetlands Association and UAW Local 2620.

For more information about Hands of Hope food pantry, visit handsofhopenj.org. In lieu of food donations, the public can make contributions by check or money order to Hands of Hope, NJ at P.O. Box 1057, Edison 08818.

SECA is a non-profit community group of volunteers. For more information, visit www.SouthEdisonCommunityAssociation.com. To volunteer, call 732-261-7172 or email SouthEdisonCommunityAssoc@gmail.com.