The purpose of the Food Bank Network of Somerset County is to provide food and other essentials to people of low economic means in Somerset County and to do so with dignity and respect for both the person giving and the person receiving. Food is distributed through food pantries, which are open every Saturday in different towns in the county. Members of St. John’s volunteer every Saturday in February and October to staff the Somerville Food Pantry. They help clients fill out the forms to determine needs and then pack and distribute the food.
Throughout the year, donations of canned goods, baby formula, dry milk, boxes of cereal, pasta, and other staples are welcomed. The Food Bank Barrel is located outside the Church office. They can also use paper and plastic supermarket bags.
The Food Bank Network also provides food for group homes and shelters. The Agape House, IHN, Home Sharing, and Catholic Charities are just a few. The Network also keeps a supply of clothing and linens on hand. During the holidays of Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, they collect turkeys and hams to help fill holiday baskets. The Food Bank distributes these baskets through the social service agencies.
Since their incorporation in 1982, they have been made aware of other needs within our community and have started several programs to respond to these needs. These programs include The Aid for Friends program which was originated to help the elderly shut-ins. Church groups and individuals prepare frozen meals at home, which are then delivered by volunteers on weekends to those who would not otherwise have a hot, nourishing meal.
Working Wardrobe, started in 1988, is a clothing bank for women who need appropriate clothing to get back into the work world or those who are seeking advancement at their places of employment. In 1999, a new program was added where prescription drugs could be provided to families who had no medical coverage. This allowed people needing assistance to be properly treated for their illnesses.
The program continues to grow each year and is currently helping over 500 people with over 1500 prescriptions. In 2004, the Food Bank Network was made aware of a need in the community for a pediatric dental program, which was initiated with the help of a grant from the United Way. Currently, over 30 children are benefiting from the volunteer services of almost two dozen generous dentists in the community.