Even after all my time spent as an elected official in Middlesex County, I still find myself humbled and greatly touched by the generosity of my constituency. As some of you may have seen on the news and in the papers recently, local food banks and charitable organizations have been running low on food and other supplies. The current state of the economy has forced more and more New Jerseyans to rely on these services. And if the needs of our neighbors continue to grow, these charitable organizations will need to rely more and more on help from their local communities.
Recently my office held a food and charity drive and I was overwhelmed by the response we received. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to everyone who contributed and helped make that drive such a great success. Through your generous donations we were able to provide thousands of food, gift, toiletry and other necessary items to: M.C.F.O.O.D.S., (the Middlesex County Food Bank) the Menlo Park Veteran’s Home, and the Red Cross Comfort Packages for Troops Program. My office will remain open to these charities and will continue to accept donations throughout the year.
We are also looking for those wanting to make a difference. Just an hour of your time or a small donation could mean the world to someone in need. For a full list of local food pantries and soup kitchens where you can volunteer, please visit: www.endhungernj.org or call my office for more information.
Of course, donating your own time to an organization is a very personal undertaking, and not everyone can afford to do so. Simply being aware of invaluable resources can make a difference as well. If you, or someone you know, is a new mother, a senior in need or someone looking for a nutritious meal, there are charities available to you. An organization like the United Way: http://www.uwcj.org/volunteer.htm can help you find various charities in your area based on your particular interests.
And for those who may know someone in need or be faced with tough times themselves, there are many government programs available in New Jersey that can help.
For senior residents who may be on a fixed income, there are programs that help with property taxes, utility costs, as well Senior Citizen clubs that offer meal programs and other assistance. To find out more about the programs in your area you can call my office or contact the Middlesex County Office on Aging at 1-877-222-3737. New mothers in need with children under the age of five can apply for New Jersey’s WIC (Women Infants and Children) program. WIC provides vouchers for food and formula and also offers nutrition education and counseling, immunization screening and health care referrals and other critical support services. WIC agencies are located throughout the state and you can find your local office by calling 1-866-44 NJ WIC (446-5942). And all New Jersey residents can now dial 2-1-1 or visit http://www.nj211.org/ to learn about many local resources and how to apply for them.
One of the most encouraging things I have seen in the state is the ability of people to come together in challenging times like these. Large scale government and national action is important, but we can also empower ourselves locally with a lasting commitment to our own communities. We must all work together to get our great state back on track, and to that affect, I promise that my office will be open to help.
If you would like more information on these charities, or on any of these programs please contact my legislative office at (732) 316-1885 or visit my web site: www.assemblymanwisniewski.com.