PASSAIC, N.J. -- The New Jersey Food & Clothing Rescue recently completed an outreach in Newark that helped 500 people on World Homeless Day.
But now the volunteer organization — which redistributes donated food, clothing, personal hygiene items and and household items to people in crises — needs help finding a new home so it can continue to help others in need.
Headquartered in Passaic, N.J. for the past 18 months, director Phil Stafford of Wallington said the need is immediate.
“We must get out of our location ASAP,” the Garfield native said. “We are distributing things we normally hold for emergencies."
The group delivers to about a dozen towns in including but not limited to military veterans, Rhema Church in Saddle Brook, Buddies Inc., Hackensack, Oasis, Paterson, Wallington Senior Center and more.
Stafford is looking for a new location in Passaic, Wallington or Garfield, or towns that border them, such as Carlstadt, Clifton, East Rutherford, Elmwood Park, Hasbrouck Heights, Saddle Brook, Rutherford, or Wood-Ridge.
“The perfect place would have approximately 1500 square feet with one small room about 12x15 feet to use as a pantry, and a bathroom," he said. "Some parking would also be awesome. We have worked without a bathroom for almost two years.”
He’d also like to install a refrigerator and a larger freezer in the pantry because they “have access to tons of perishable and frozen foods every week.” Fruits that can’t be redistributed go to the Wildlife Conservation Center in Ridgefield Park.
Whole Foods in Ridgewood, New Visions Nutritio in Hackensack, Rhema Church in Saddle Brook and Gencarelli's Bakery in Wayne all donate goods to NJ Food & Clothing Rescue.
With Thanksgiving, Christmas and the cold winter months coming up, he said they can’t afford to lose momentum to continue to help people at the level they do.
“Every week we rescue in excess of one ton of food that would otherwise be thrown in the garbage and redistribute it,” Stafford said.
“Many people in need fall through the cracks. We help them….young, old, healthy, sick, and those in a tough spot. Many are looked at as less than human. Everyone needs help at some point.”
The daily schedule for Phil and the team of volunteers includes pick-ups at various locations in Bergen and Passaic counties.
In addition to needing a new headquarters, there is a gofundme page to purchase a new van. Phil puts hundreds of miles a week on the 20-year old van, picking up and dropping off food to those most in need.