Feeding Middlesex County:
October 2022
There from the Start
The story of Margaret Pemberton’s role in Feeding Middlesex County goes back to the very beginning of the organization. 

See, Margaret was the founding - and only - secretary the non-profit has had. She was there from the start as the 18-year Clerk to the Middlesex County Commissioners (then Freeholders), hearing the challenges facing the county food bank, REPLENISH (then called MCFOODS).

Acquiring food to distribute to county residents in need involved a complicated bidding and procurement process, and as a government entity, there was no easy way for REPLENISH to utilize donations from the generous public that would be tax-deductible. So a separate non-profit was formed under Internal Revenue Service Code Chapter 501, section C, subsection 3, dealing with non-profits for social welfare. 

“We decided to form the 501c3 because we could buy what MCFOODS needed in a timely manner,” Pemberton recounted. 

One of the other benefits was that the Feeding Middlesex County could pursue state, federal, and private grants, something that wasn’t usually available to government.

Pemberton and a handful of other county executives like retired Freeholder Jane Brady, county Improvement Authority Administrator Jane Leal, and Northfield Bank executive Angie Tsirkas, came together to form the core of the new non-profit. 
To demonstrate how FMC has evolved, Pemberton recalled the budget for that inaugural year: With nothing to base it on, they figured on $50,000. They ended up with about $55,000. Last year, the organization’s budget topped $500,000 – which may deserve an asterisk because of pandemic aid. 

Her duties as secretary can range up to full-time in the busy weeks. The work includes monitoring the e-mail, and hard mail at the post office box, bank deposits, manning the food collection table at events, meeting prep for the 15-member board, or intangible networking to spread the word about FMC‘s work, to recruit new supporters.

While she’s always participated in postal carriers’ collection of food on their routes, or the food bank’s annual employee food drive, why did this cause become one of her central commitments?

“No one should have to worry about where their food is coming from and being food insecure. And especially in a state as affluent and a county as affluent as we are, no one should have to worry.”

And the work of FMC in particular, she said, is close to home. 

“It's local. These people are our neighbors, our coworkers, and we may not realize their struggle. This is not in your face. When the cupboard is bare, we don’t see that from the next street.” 

Please note that Margaret’s volunteer and charitable work to create a better community will be honored on November 9th by Mayor Cohen’s Charity Fund at The Park Chateau in East Brunswick.

[article written by FMC Communications Committee member George Francy]
Federal Plan for Fighting Hunger
The White House recently devoted a meeting day with nationwide hunger stakeholders to announce a U.S. goal of ending hunger and increasing healthy eating and physical activity with a 2030 deadline.

The program includes five pillars of focus with action plans for each of the five pillars. These are:

  • Improved access and affordability - including free and nutritious school meals, summer benefits for children, increasing and opening up SNAP benefits (formerly known as food stamps)
  • Integrate nutrition and health - work for a congressional bill for a pilot program to cover medically tailored meals via Medicare, increasing Medicaid coverage for nutrition education and increasing both Medicare and Medicaid access to nutrition and obesity counseling
  • Increased access to and encouragement of healthy choices for consumers - new food package labeling, fruit and vegetable incentives in existing SNAP program, sodium and sugar reduction via the industry
  • Promote physical activity - CDC expanding its physical activity and nutrition programs nationwide, government investing in programs to connect people to parks/outdoor spaces and updating physical activity guidelines for all Americans
  • More nutrition and food security research - improving data collection, funding research to inform policy on nutrition and food security

The federal government makes it clear that the goals cannot be reached by the federal government alone. It requires partnerships with the private sector, state/tribal/local/territory governments, academia, non-profit and community groups. Successful calls to action involving all these entities will ensure that the 2030 goals can be achieved.

[information for this article sourced from the National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition and Health report]
Impactful Gift Giving
Holiday season is approaching and will be here before you know it. The stress of thinking about what to give to your loved ones who insist they “don’t want anything” can be a lot. For those loved ones who have it all, making a donation to Feeding Middlesex County in their name is a perfect gift. To donate, all you have to do is use this link and select "In Honor of" or In Memory Of" from the dropdown menu. You can also mail a check to Feeding Middlesex County, P.O. Box 781, Edison, NJ 08818, including information on how to acknowledge the donation.

If the donation is in honor or in memory of someone, please include their name and email address or other contact information (i.e. mailing address). If you have any questions or would like to discuss donation options, please contact us.
Grant for Providing Post-Pandemic
Food & Personal Products to REPLENISH
Feeding Middlesex County is the recipient of grant funding from MIddlesex County in the amount of $314,856. The County had received more than $1 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as a Community Development Block Grant for funding to meet needs that developed during the Covid crisis. As part of HUD’s Nourish Our Neighbors Program, a portion of that grant went to Feeding Middlesex County to fight food insecurity. Feeding Middlesex County’s purchases of food and personal products go directly to REPLENISH, the county food bank, servicing 160 food pantries, soup kitchens and social service agencies in Middlesex County.

Feeding Middlesex County along with other 501c3 charities applied for funds from the grant. The County reviewed the applications, scored them, and the final decision of awarding $314,856 to Feeding Middlesex County resulted. This is a unique opportunity to meet needs that developed during Covid and continue in this post-Covid time period, and the challenges of inflation add to these continuing needs.

Kevin Hoagland, the Chair of Feeding Middlesex County, commented “on behalf of the Board of Directors of Feeding Middlesex County, I would like to thank the Board of County Commissioners and the Middlesex County Department of Human Services for approving the Community Development Block Grant to FMC. The grant money will allow us to continue to fight food insecurity to help our neighbors and friends throughout Middlesex County.”
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P.O. Box 781
Edison, N.J. 08818
T: 732-723-8106