Teamsters Local 863 surprises local food pantry with huge donation

Photo Courtesy of Cynthia Cumming
Holy Trinity–West Orange Food Pantry administrator Cynthia Cumming is joined by members of the Teamsters Local 863, who donated 11 pallets of food and other necessaries to the pantry.

WEST ORANGE, NJ — Teamsters from Local 863, located in Mountainside, surprised the Holy Trinity–West Orange Food Pantry with 11 huge pallets of donations on March 24, with items ranging from spiral hams to fruit, vegetables, diapers and nonperishables.

In 2019, the pantry provided food for approximately 6,100 people. In 2020, that number jumped to 41,000 as the pandemic put people out of work and food insecurity soared. In addition to conducting a food distribution event every Tuesday, the pantry also delivers food to senior citizens, quarantined families and those with medical conditions.

“The last time Local 863 dropped off food it was a modest amount, maybe around 20 cases or so, so I was expecting about the same, plus a few hams,” pantry administrator Cynthia Cumming said. “I was completely overwhelmed to see 25 teamsters show up with 11 pallets of food — several tons worth.”

“When it comes to Local 863, we go big,” Teamsters organizer Al Rispoli said.

Teamsters Local 863 is located in Mountainside, NJ. They work in the retail sales, distribution and warehousing industry, including food. West Orange resident Patti Nathan and Teamsters administrator Kathy Zizza were vital to this recent donation.

“We want to thank the Teamsters for their incredible generosity and sense of brotherhood towards those that are struggling in our community,” Cumming said.

The pantry depends on food and monetary donations to keep the distributions going. The food pantry is a nonprofit organization and is also in partnership with the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, located in Hillside. Contact Cumming at Heidlercumming@aol.com for more information about the pantry and how to donate.

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