TSTI volunteers assist 275 food pantry clients in one day

Photo Courtesy of TSTI — TSTI volunteers were, front row, from left, Lisa Goldberg Ozer, Matty Goldberg, Sue Nissim and Barbara Schwartz of West Orange; and Amanda Jaffe and Janet Schwamm of Short Hills. Back row, from left, are Andy Soloway, Don Jaffe and Karyn Boosin Leit of Maplewood, Elliot Sommer of South Orange, Susan Nasberg-Abrams of Maplewood, Mark Schwartz of West Orange, Sandra Dick of South Orange and Lisa Levine of Millburn.

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — Members of Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel in South Orange teamed up recently with volunteers from the Investors Bank and Summit Medical Group Foundation, based in Berkeley Heights, to distribute a wide variety of produce and other goods to clients of the Interfaith Food Pantry of the Oranges. TSTI is one of four area houses of worship that support the IFPO with weekly distribution days and other endeavors. Members of the Sisterhood of Congregation Beth El in South Orange also joined them at the April 25 distribution day.

The volunteers served 275 clients, who received nearly 6,000 pounds of fresh produce that was provided by the Farmers Market program, which is co-sponsored by Community FoodBank of New Jersey and Summit Medical Group Foundation. Julienne Cherry, the Community FoodBank’s director of agency relations, and Tristan Wallack, the organization’s food sourcing manager, were there as well, and got to see how the pantry works. IFPO clients may select the items they want and need from an array of pantry staples, produce and other goods. Additionally, products donated by the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest’s J-Serve Day, a community service program for area teens, were available.

The team also distributed toiletries to all clients as well as diapers, wipes and baby food for those enrolled in the IFPO’s diaper program. Diaper clients were also offered handmade baby blankets from Project Linus. An all-time high of 233 babies were served in April through the diaper program, according to Lisa Goldberg Ozer from TSTI.

Clients enrolled in a special program, “Food, Health and Hope: An Answer to Diabetes,” learned about diabetes prevention and care. The program is a collaborative effort that addresses the state’s growing diabetes epidemic by promoting a healthier lifestyle.