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

MEND’s History

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.

Strategic Partners
Host a Drive

Executive Director

Robin Peacock

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!

  • Operations:
    • Alicia Harrison, Director of Operations
    • Cameron Johnson, Operations Manager
    • Donnell Randleman, Driver/Warehouse Assistant
    • Fausto Paredes, Driver/Warehouse Assistant
  • Programming:
    • 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

Vice Chair

South Orange Village Trustee and Non-Profit Consultant

Kate Cahill


Retired Financial Services Executive

Claire Sinclair


Feed SOMany Founder, Community Leader, and Teacher, Tuscan Elementary School

Darlyn Blaney


Pantry Manager, Roseville Presbyterian Church Food Pantry, founding member of ROCC, and Director of the Marie Wildey School of Dance

Chesney Blue


Registered Nutritionist/Dietician and WIC Program Manager

Chris Costanzo


Founder and Editor, Food Bank News

Magaly Denis-Roman


Human Resources Director

Benjamin Eyler


Marketing and Communications Consultant

Sister Linda Klaiss


Pastoral Associate/Religious Education Coordinator, St. Benedict’s Prep, and Pantry Manager, Pierre Toussaint Food Pantry

Dyanna Moon


Realtor and Former Nonprofit Development Professional

Chigozie Onyema


Attorney and Community Organizer

Margaret Santana


Community Leader and Former Advertising Professional

Samir Shah


Financial Services Executive

Sunita Subramanian



Rick Wessler


Food Justice Advocate and Former Financial Services Professional

Advisory Board


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.

Trustees Emeriti

Trustees Emeriti

Jamie R. Anthony, Jr.

Helen Brooks


Garrett Gray

Mary Trinity