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Elijah's Promise in Need

New Jersey food bank says need up, donations down

By Gowtham Balaji | November 30 , 2009
Robert Mason, the social services coordinator for Elijah's Promise in New Brunswick, New Jersey, with Kid Reporter Gowtham Balaji. (Photo Courtesy Gowtham Balaji)
Robert Mason, the social services coordinator for Elijah's Promise in New Brunswick, New Jersey, with Kid Reporter Gowtham Balaji. (Photo Courtesy Gowtham Balaji)

People in need in the Central New Jersey area are giving thanks to Elijah's Promise this holiday season. Established in 1989 in the city of New Brunswick, Elijah's Promise helps low-income people by providing daily hot meals, job training, health care, and much more.

Like many other organizations around the country, Elijah's Promise has been hurt by the downturn in the economy. While donations have decreased, the need for services has increased, said Robert Mason, the social services coordinator for the organization.

"On average, the number of people needing help has increased maybe 20 or 30 percent in the past two years," Mason said in an interview on Thanksgiving Day.

Almost a year ago, the organization had to cancel the lunches served on Tuesdays because of budget cuts and low food supply. Mason said they chose Tuesdays because a nearby church also served lunch that day, so fewer people came to Elijah's Promise for a hot meal.

When newspapers spread the word of the Tuesday closure, a corporation stepped in with donations to keep the kitchen open.

While the kitchen is always in need of food donations for the meals and the food bank, Mason stressed the need for monetary donations for other services offered. Besides feeding people in need, the organization helps with job searches and training.

Volunteers are also a big part of the success of all aspects of the organization, he said.

"Volunteers are the life blood of this organization," Mason said. "We would not exist without the volunteers."

Anyone older than 12 years can volunteer and help out.

"People have always rallied to our cause here in New Brunswick or the Central Jersey area," Mason said.

To learn more about Elijah’s Promise, check out the program's website.

Kids and the Economy

Kid Reporters take a look at the economy and how it is affecting kids and their communities during this holiday season in the Kids and the Economy Special Report.

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