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New Jersey food banks and the community are stepping up to help this week after Mercer Street Friends Food Bank, which serves Mercer County, had three trucks vandalized and catalytic converters stolen over the Memorial Day weekend.

The trucks are essential in the battle against food insecurity and are used daily, picking up over 50,000 pounds of dry goods, produce, meat, bakery, and dairy products each month and delivering to over 100 partners throughout Trenton and Mercer County.

After the theft was discovered and other New Jersey food bank leaders learned what happened, they immediately offered assistance. The Community FoodBank of New Jersey has loaned Mercer Street Friends a box truck and the Food Bank of South Jersey has provided a large van.

The same day, this kind of emergency response became the first topic of conversation at the previously scheduled New Jersey Food Bank CEO meeting.

“These vehicles will allow Mercer Street Friends to continue to deliver food to our partner agencies in Mercer County,” said Mercer Street Friends CEO Bernie Flynn.

“We are extremely grateful to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey and the Food Bank of South Jersey for their prompt response to our plight and we appreciate the strong collaboration we enjoy not only with them but with NORWESCAP and Fulfill Food Banks, enabling Food Bank coverage across the entire state of New Jersey and knowing they all have Mercer County’s back when needed,” Flynn said.

“The Food Bank of South Jersey understands the position Mercer Street Friends is in since we experienced a similar situation a few months ago. It is a challenge you don’t expect to face, but we are glad we could assist a partner food bank in a time of need to ensure daily operations continued,” said Fred Wasiak, President and CEO of the Food Bank of South Jersey.

Carlos Rodriguez, President and CEO of the Community FoodBank of New Jersey shared, “a fleet of vehicles is vital to serving our neighbors in need. The food banks of New Jersey are partners in the fight against food insecurity in the state, so we knew we had to support Mercer Street Friends in some way. Lending a truck allows Mercer Street Friends Food Bank to maintain its capacity to serve the community.”

Local community members also stepped in to help.

Two of Mercer Street Friends Food Bank distribution agencies, Trenton Deliverance Center and New Hope Church of God, volunteered to aid the Food Bank in pickups and deliveries.

TruckSmart in Morrisville, Pennsylvania realized the predicament Mercer Street Friends was in and made it priority to fix the trucks that were brought in.

Chad Johnson, Warehouse Manager for Mercer Street Friends Food Bank, reported, “we were able to have two trucks in the repair shop today. The third truck should be repaired later this week. We are tackling this challenge with the partnership of the Community Food Bank of New Jersey and the Food Bank of South Jersey and we are keeping up with regularly scheduled deliveries.”

ABOUT MERCER STREET FRIENDS

As a Quaker-affiliated, nonsectarian 501(c)(3) organization, Mercer Street Friends is dedicated to nourishing minds and bodies, empowering families and communities by providing comprehensive programs to address poverty and the physical and emotional trauma it creates for children, families and the community.