Recent Projects

GRACE

Origins

The premise started with a notion:  Anything that is needed within our community can be found within our community.  GRACE stands for Giving and Receiving Assistance for Our Community’s Essentials.

GRACE originally started with GRACE’s Closet.  This program connects families identified by teachers, principals, school nurses, social workers, or clergy with the clothing, household items, sports gear, or academic supplies they require.

In the fall of 2015, Summit’s Assistant Superintendent reported that 15% of all enrolled students in the Summit Schools are eligible for free or reduced price lunch.  The Summit Schools’ administration believes this number is underreported.  One in six Summit public school students faces food insecurity.  In addition, only one Summit elementary school qualifies for the federally funded breakfast program. All of the Summit schools have students in need of free breakfast.  

The Junior League of Summit along with the Connection and the United Way researched the issue of food insecurity and the local agencies who help food insecure families.  We gathered key groups (The Interfaith Council, SHIP, the Connection, the YMCA, the United Way, and the Department of Community Programs) and formed No Kid Goes Hungry in 07901, now known as GRACE.

Over the five Mondays in August 2016 families gathered for entertainment and food distribution, dubbed Family Fun Night.  Families who receive camp scholarships or help from other local agencies such as Area Baby Center or Overlook Hospital Charity Care were invited to attend.  Food insecure children and their parents enjoyed movies, cooking, games, yoga, dance, and swimming.  Each family received a bag of groceries and a chance to shop the free farm stand of rescued produce.  During this month we distributed 136 bags of groceries and 1,000 pounds of fresh produce rescued from the Summit Farmer’s Market.

To continue to meet the needs of Summit’s food insecure, GRACE’s Refrigerator opened for the first time on Sunday, September 11, 2016.  It was open this fall on Sundays afternoons at Central Presbyterian Church and Thursday evenings at Christ Church to offer Summit residents free fresh food.  On Sundays the food came from the farmer’s market, local businesses, and on Thursdays the food came from Community Food Bank. After the pilot phase, the Refrigerator condensed its hours to Thursday evenings at Summit’s Christ Church.  

CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO GRACE.