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In this year when we hear of a booming economy, jobs for all who want, and an overall upward feeling . . . we listen to the radio or watch the news and hear of war where there are no winners – where people from all sides are suffering.  And we focus on the horrible status of life in the Middle East.  And we see people homeless, and hungry.  It is such a terrible time for so many.  And many may think, “Well, that’s on the other side of the world.”

We are so fortunate here – no question.  At least, for most of us.

Yet, if you look around . . . really look . . . you’ll see there are many struggling right here, right now.

It’s often a silent, quiet, unseen matter.  But, even in one of the most prosperous areas of the country and the world, there are those in need.  And that is why Family Promise exists . . . and it is why YOU support Family Promise.

I don’t want to put a damper on your Thanksgiving.  I really do hope that we all gather with friends and family to give thanks for what we have.

Pre-Covid, we served about 95 meals a day at the Walk-In Dinner program in Hackensack – 35,000 meals a year.  In 2022, we served 53,000 meals, an average of 145 dinners each day.

We have set a record number of daily dinners in October.  And, through the end of October of 2023, we served 57,000 meals . . . 4,000 more meals in ten months than in the entire year of 2022.

We will serve 70,000 meals this year – 192 meals per day.  That’s 17,000 more meals this year than last year, an increase of about one-third.  For most days in November, we have served over 200 meals each day.  I don’t see this trend going down.

Every day, we have people coming after a long day at work to get meals for their family.  Others get meals for their families so that, with the money they save by not having to buy meals, they can pay the rent.

What we thought was a program to address food insecurity is, in fact, a homeless prevention program.

We are able to meet these needs because of the congregations and organizations who provide the food and the funds to buy food.  We are able to feed so many people because of the support many provide to Family Promise so that we can spend $150,000 to ensure no one leaves without a dinner.  We are able to do all of this because of the many volunteers who donate over 9,000 person-hours each year to serve these dinners.

So I ask that, when you give thanks before you eat your Thanksgiving dinner this year, you take a moment to add a prayer for those whom Family Promise supports each day.  Give thanks to the many volunteers and financial supporters who make our program possible.  We will be there every day, because the need is real, and you enable us to meet that need.

Thank you for your support.  We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Best regards,

Paul Shackford
President of the Board of Trustees