Center Food Action assistance programs Passaic County.

For those people from the Passaic County New Jersey region that meet income requirements, and that have an appointment, Center Food Action may be able to provide support. The charity offers a combination of referrals as well as direct assistance to families that are in a crisis. Some of their services include free food (including Diabetic Packages), homeless prevention, and a fresh food garden.

As with any agency in Passaic County or any other state, resources are very limited. If the caseworker from the office can't help, or if the agency does not have resources available, then they will try to link the person to some other local service for their needs.

Center Food Action runs an emergency food assistance program for at-risk, low-income clients. Applicants, such as those facing hunger, work with an advocate. If qualified, they may be referred to Family as well as Social Service programs. Or they may be linked to a local shelter and housing programs. As they go through this process, they can receive help from the food pantry.

The food program is is the busiest and most well know support service at Center Food Action. Every single month, dozens if not hundreds of struggling families from Passaic County come to the pantry in an effort to increase their nutritional needs. There are even meals or food for people with special dietary needs, such as diabetics.

Volunteers will pack boxes of groceries. The contents can be canned goods, dairy supplies such as milk, fresh and frozen foods, and more is available. All donations as well as the time of volunteers are accepted at the Center Food Action location. Also, there are multiple freezers and refrigerators used for storage, but more equipment is always appreciated too.

While the pantry relies greatly on donations, however, it is also able to purchase food through drives and other agencies, such as partnerships with Feeding America. The Center Food Action Food Pantry is able to purchase items at steeply discounted prices as compared to local grocery stores. The pantry is also supplemented from donations from the federal government USDA.




Or clients can get referred to other government benefits. There is the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), surplus commodities (CSFP) and others. Working poor clients may also receive other essential living items such as diapers, personal care or hygiene items and household cleaning supplies when available.

Or during the holidays, Center Food Action is involved in both Thanksgiving and Christmas meal services. In fact, it can have over $100 dollars worth if items in it, including eggs, fresh meat, dairy goods and fresh produce.

There is financial assistance available, as funding allows, through the Center Food Action as well as Passaic County Social Services Department. Disadvantaged clients are able to work with volunteer intake workers and staff who make assessments, referrals and offer access to various resources. Qualifications will occur with regard to the client’s income level.

A sampling of some of the assistance programs in the city of Paterson and Ringwood include a few days worth of emergency, non-perishable food items; gas vouchers or free bus passes for job interviews and doctor’s appointments and assistance with state of New Jersey identification cards, prescriptions and birth certificates, etc.

Or there may be occasional grants for housing expenses, such as energy bills or rent. By an appointment only, Center Food Action case managers can help struggling clients resolve late utility and rental payments during certain times of the year. This is their homeless prevention service.

Transitional housing is available for disadvantaged, homeless families. Center Food Action has information on properties across the region. There are apartments, public housing sites, and other support. Working with staff, these poverty stricken or homeless individuals will have access to vocational assistance and counseling.

All of these services encouraged by Center Food Action help eliminate barriers to homelessness and poverty in order for clients to regain their footing in society. Partner services to their programs also provide other types of skilled training such as educational planning and family therapy or financial literacy workshops. These help those less fortunate move from temporary to permanent housing.





For students from low income homes living in the local Passaic County school district, they can register to receive necessary school supplies through the Center for Food Action Backpack Program. Parents and students are encouraged to register early for the program, as donations and assistance will run out over time. The items are usually passed out on July 1st of each year or shortly thereafter.

Free school items are made possible through a partnership with non-profits and businesses. These companies run an annual campaign for donations for the school supplies, such as clothing, notebooks, uniforms, shoes, and more. Local churches and individual donors also contribute greatly to the program.

Center Food Action medication assistance is for poverty stricken and vulnerable individuals. This can also assist people that lack proper health insurance coverage. The goal is to help residents of Passaic County who cannot afford or obtain their prescription medication.

After applying, a social services specialist makes an assessment of a candidate’s resources and individual needs to determine if they are apply to partake in the program. Please note, that any medications or vouchers given out by Center for Food Action are limited to individuals currently covered by the government programs such as Medicaid or the Passaic County Division of Human Services.

Pregnant women in the Passaic County community can get help too. There is a service focused on them as well as Maternal/Child Health and Well-Being Services. Many of these resources support a woman’s pregnancy and the first few years of their child’s life. Any female that is currently pregnant, and who also has a limited income, and who is in need of supportive services should contact the agency.




Applicants may also be referred to resources such as Temporary Medicaid & Medicaid for Pregnant Women. These are publicly funded, federal government health insurance programs for very low income pregnant women. This Temporary Medicaid is designed to provide coverage until a woman is approved for a longer term solution, such as MPW or Medicaid for Pregnant Women. If qualified, it covers the necessary prenatal and delivery services as well as related bills.

There are several offices in the region. However the Passaic County center is at 145 Carletondale Road, Ringwood, NJ 07456. Call 201.529.2029.

By Jon McNamara

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