Meeting Essential Needs with Dignity
MEND is a hunger relief network of over 40 member food pantries and community partners located throughout Essex County, NJ. Our network, the largest in Essex County, has been providing food to individuals and families in need since 1980.
MEND is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that strengthens and supports its food pantry network by providing supplemental fresh and healthy food, funds, volunteers, and a monthly forum for collaboration. MEND also advocates for policies to improve the quality of life for those in need in the County.
Member pantries benefit from MEND’s economies of scale and support, while retaining their independence.MEND Fact Sheet
How it Works
Infrastructure and Support
MEND provides infrastructure and financial support along with food sourcing and distribution so its pantries can serve their clients. Houses of worship, foundations, community organizations, and individuals donate food that MEND then collects and distributes among its member pantries.
Grants and Partnerships
MEND applies for grants that benefit its pantries. It cultivates corporations, foundations, and service organizations as donors as well as working relationships with government agencies and officials.
Increasing Public Awareness
Through its food drives, fundraisers, hunger walks and other special events, newsletters, website, and social media, MEND’s goal is to ensure that the larger community is aware of the plight of the thousands of people in Essex County who do not have enough food.
Robin joined MEND as its first Executive Director in January of 2018, after previously working as a Grants & Special Projects Consultant for the organization for two years. Robin has a long history of community engagement and leadership, having served as a Board member and volunteer for several non-profits in Essex County. Before joining the nonprofit sector, Robin worked for nearly 15 years as a tax attorney for the IRS Office of Chief Counsel and Deloitte Tax LLP.
Meet the Staff!
- Alicia Harrison, Director of Operations
- Cameron Johnson, Operations Manager
- Donnell Randleman, Driver/Warehouse Assistant
- Fausto Paredes, Driver/Warehouse Assistant
- Keily Hayes, Director of Community Impact
- Talia Smith, Program Coordinator – MEND on the Move
- Lloyd Carnegie, Program Coordinator – Pantry Partnerships
- Development & Communications – Lisa Duggan, Manager
- Administration – Emily Force, Administrative Assistant
Board of Trustees
A. Jabbar Abdi
Managing Partner, Sidereal Capital
Karen Hartshorn Hilton
South Orange Village Trustee and Non-Profit Consultant
Retired Financial Services Executive
Feed SOMany Founder, Community Leader, and Teacher, Tuscan Elementary School
Pantry Manager, Roseville Presbyterian Church Food Pantry, founding member of ROCC, and Director of the Marie Wildey School of Dance
Registered Nutritionist/Dietician and WIC Program Manager
Founder and Editor, Food Bank News
Human Resources Director
Marketing and Communications Consultant
Sister Linda Klaiss
Pastoral Associate/Religious Education Coordinator, St. Benedict’s Prep, and Pantry Manager, Pierre Toussaint Food Pantry
Realtor and Former Nonprofit Development Professional
Attorney and Community Organizer
Community Leader and Former Advertising Professional
Financial Services Executive
Food Justice Advocate and Former Financial Services Professional
Tabatha Perez – Apostles’ House, Newark
Helen Brooks – Blessed Sacrament Church, Newark
Don Cornell – Bloomfield Church on-the Green, Bloomfield
Alison Bryant – Church Women United Food Pantry, Irvington
Pastor Doris Peterson – Elizabeth Avenue Presbyterian, Newark
Gwen Johnson – First Hopewell Baptist Church, Newark
Renee Scott – First Seventh Day Adventist Church, Montclair
Alicia Harrison – Glen Ridge Congregational Church, Glen Ridge
Cynthia Cumming – Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, West Orange
Barbara Griffa – Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, East Orange
Diane Stein – Interfaith Food Pantry of the Oranges, Orange
Latoya Anderson – Isaiah House, East Orange
Dorothy Wetzel – Morrow Memorial Methodist Church, Maplewood
Agnes Bess – New Hope Baptist Church of East Orange
Tina Scheid – Notre Dame Church, North Caldwell
Kate Cahill – Our Lady of Sorrows Church, South Orange
Anna Hooper – Parish of the Transfiguration, Newark
Sr. Linda Klaiss – Pierre Toussaint Food Pantry St. Mary’s Church, Newark
Jamie Anthony – Prospect Presbyterian Church, Maplewood
Sharon Reeves – Roseville Presbyterian Church
Zhan La’quer-Douglas – St. James Social Services St. James A.M.E. Church, Newark
Beverly Mozone – St. Joseph’s Church, Maplewood
Yahaira Rodriquez – United Community Corporation, Newark
MEND provides a forum for information-sharing, support, and community building among its pantries. Every month, member pantries gather to identify common issues and concerns, address service obstacles, and share strategies and best practices for providing assistance and advocating for change.
Jamie R. Anthony, Jr.