Meeting Essential Needs with Dignity
MEND is an interfaith network of 17 member food pantries located throughout Essex County, NJ. Our hunger relief 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 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 joins MEND as its new Executive Director, after previously working as MEND’s Grants & Special Projects Consultant 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.
Board of Trustees
Jamie Anthony, Jr.
Capital Asset Finance Professional (1966-2013)
Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary Minerals Technologies, Inc. (1992-2005)
Financial Services Executive (1977-2010) Pantry Manager, Our Lady of Sorrows Church
Helen T. Brooks
Pantry Manager, Blessed Sacrament Church
Director of Grants Management, NJ Coalition to End Domestic Violence
MEND Coordinator and Program Manager, Catholic Charities (1984-2017)
Reverend Doris Peterson
Pastor and Pantry Manager, Elizabeth Avenue Presbyterian Church
Project Director, Community Schools, Newark Public Schools
MEND Executive Director
Yahaira Rodriguez – 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
Agnes Bess, New Hope Baptist Church of East Orange
Renee Scott – First Seventh Day Adventist Church, Montclair
Rev. Cindy Reynolds – Glen Ridge Congregational Church
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
Dorothy Wetzel – Morrow Memorial Methodist Church, Maplewood
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
Sr. Barbara Howard
Ruth Mayes – Trinity & St. Philip Cathedral, 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.