Community members volunteering in “Fran’s Food Pantry” at HomeFront, including Barbara Carberry from Yardley (back left), Hunter Elkins (front left), Madeline Lightman (front Right) from WW-P, and Donna Famoso (back right) from Hamilton Sq.

When the State eviction moratorium is lifted, presumably on January 1, 2022, 17% of Mercer County families may face eviction. There has never been a more important time to observe Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. HomeFront will recognize this important week for the fifth year starting Saturday, November 13 through November 20. The Mercer County nonprofit has been active in the community since 1991. It provides families living in the shadow of homelessness with emergency and permanent housing, homelessness prevention funds, and an array of wraparound services.Homefront also provides each family with a vision of a different future and the tools to help them achieve it.

“These are volatile times for all of us,” explained Connie Mercer, HomeFront’s Founder and CEO, “but especially for the most vulnerable with no resources or extended family to fall back on.Food insecurity for local families has doubled since last year and food prices are steadily climbing.Hunger is three times higher for kids right here locally than it was in 2019, which is particularly troubling since chronic hunger can have lasting, developmental effects on growing bodies and minds.

Mercer continued: “The many informational events in this week of awareness are a way to shine a light on these problems and help people understand how families fall into crisis and how we can all help keep the problem from growing.The volunteering events provide community members a way to get involved.”

HomeFront’s Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week events will include both in-person and virtual opportunities, including educational sessions with local and national experts in these issues, forums to ask questions and offer ideas, service opportunities, open houses, and guided tours at several HomeFront facilities. There also will be information on how to sign up for life enhancing volunteer opportunities for people of all ages during the holiday season.

HomeFront’s National Hunger & Homelessness week events will include:

  • Saturday, November 13from 9am to 3pm –Open house at HomeFront’s SewingSpace & tours of the nonprofit’s headquarters, including its donation center, Fran’s Food Pantry, SewingSpace, etc.
  • Monday, November 15from 12 to 1pm –Virtual “Welcome to HomeFront” Orientation which overviews the current need in the community and Homefront’s comprehensive services model to break the cycle of local poverty.
  • Wednesday, November 17thfrom 1 to 3pm –HomeFront’s Diaper Resource Center Volunteer Opportunity.
  • Thursday, November 18that 6pm –Expert panel discussion on thelong-lasting effects the pandemic has had on vulnerable populations and what local and national agencies are doing to lessen the impact. Speakers include:
  • Shellie Skinner from NJ Pandemic Relief Fund
  • Olivia Jin from the Eviction Lab at Princeton University
  • Emily Gartenberg from No Kid Hungry, NYC
  • Sarah Steward from HomeFront
  • Friday, November 19from 12 to 1:30pmVirtual Lunch & Learn with HomeFront’s Chief Executive Officer, Connie Mercer & Chief Operating Officer, Sarah Steward. They will discuss the nonprofit’s work this past year to meet the increased need in the community, ways community members can get involved, and HomeFront’s plans for the future.
  • Saturday, November 20from 10am to 1pm Thanksgiving Drive Service Opportunity – Help pack Thanksgiving dinner baskets at HomeFront which will be distributed to the nonprofit’s client families.

You can learn more about these learning and service opportunities and register for them atwww.homefrontnj.org.

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