Friday, December 6, 2013

Spotlight on Hunger: WYCD Interviews the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, in Trenton New Jersey

This holiday season, What You Can Do is teaming up with Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen to help raise awareness and fight hunger in New York City. As 1 in every 5 New Yorkers face hunger, Holy Apostles plays a crucial role in providing food, support and hope to people in need.  

The What You Can Do team is based in New York, so we have the opportunity to collaborate with many organizations inspiring change throughout our city. Since fans watch What You Can Do from around the world, we thought this holiday season would be a good time to highlight different perspectives on hunger. More than 49 million Americans face hunger today, with over 15 million of that number being children. 

We interviewed representatives from food banks and hunger organizations across the country and in Canada, asking about involvement in their communities, services they offer, trends they are seeing in their communities etc. 

Our fifth spotlight is on the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, a hunger relief organization based out of Trenton, New Jersey.

An interview with Dennis Micai, Executive Director for the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen.

WYCD:  Please tell us a little about your organization and the community that you serve.

TASK has been meeting the needs of the hungry in the Greater Trenton, NJ area for more than 30 years. We provided 210,000 meals over the past year. In addition to our main site at 72 1/2 Escher Street, we have six satellite sites - 3 in Trenton, 2 in Hightstown and 1 in Princeton. In addition to our meal programs, we have an Adult Education Program, two arts programs (A-Team with traditional artists and SHARE with performing artists, writers, and musicians), a fully equipped computer lab, an on site social worker and various programs throughout the year for children. More details may be found on our website:

WYCD:  How long have you been in operation?

TASK has been in operation since 1981.

WYCD:  If you offer a variety of services, which ones are the most popular and why do you think that is?

Obviously, our most popular program is our feeding program. However, the AEP and Arts Programs are also hugely popular.

WYCD:  Have the overall numbers of visitors changed in the last few years?

Our meal counts have consistently risen over the past several years to an all-time record of 210,000 (8% increase over prior year) in the FY year ended June 30.

WYCD:  Has the demographic of your visitors changed over the last several years?
(Are you seeing an increase in certain age groups, races, economic status, genders or the marital status of people needing your services?)

Our demographic has changed. We see more seniors, more young families, less homeless people (as there has been a concerted effort in Mercer County to house the homeless). In addition, we have seen more young males from outside the Trenton area coming to the city for services.

WYCD:  What are the most prevalent issues in your community, and do you feel that this reflects the current trends around the region?

The most significant issue in Trenton is safety. Crime has increased since the layoff of more than 100 police officers due to budget cuts. In addition, a poor school system, lack of jobs, and unaffordable housing continue to be major issues.

WYCD:  If you have volunteers, are you finding more people involved in helping out, and does it fluctuate throughout the year?

Our volunteer base remains stable at approximately 3,500 per year.

WYCD:  Do you have special requests for the types of food/meals that you provide?

We encourage people to donate money instead of food. Since we are members of the local food bank, we can purchase food at 15% of retail, therefore we can access 7 times the amount of food that someone purchasing at retail could. We are also always in need of personal hygiene products that we distribute to our patrons.

WYCD:  What are easy ways that your community can help out your organization even if they only have one minute of time to give? What if they have one hour to give?

If time is limited to 1 hour or less, the best way to help is to make a financial donation. We also always appreciate those that join us in advocating for the needs of the hungry.

We want to send many thanks to Dennis and his team at the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen for sharing their insight on hunger in the Greater Trenton area with us.  As we strive to end hunger as a nation, they help show us how cities across the U.S. are making a difference in their communities. By finding ways to take action, one minute at a time, we can help erase hunger in our neighborhoods and even around the world.

If you want to learn more about their work, you can visit the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen website at:

If you want to learn more about Holy Apostles in New York City, you can visit their website at:

To join What You Can Do in the mission to help change the world, one minute at a time,
please visit us at:

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