For the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK), 2019 will be another year of growth in more ways than one. In just a few short months, TASK will complete a building expansion project to allow more room to serve meals, tutor its adult education students and help people in the community get back on their feet.
TASK will be adding more computers to teach adults computer literacy and to help them look for jobs and opportunities toward a better life. There will be more room for workshops in literacy, math, science, resume writing, and job counseling. There will also be more space for TASK’s arts and music programs, designed to enrich patrons’ lives in ways only the arts can.
The 3,300 square foot expansion also serves another purpose. By providing rooms dedicated to education, enrichment and improving quality of life, TASK will be freeing up space to serve the hungry without having to cancel crucial programs during busy times.
Feeding the hungry is an undertaking that’s been growing for the soup kitchen steadily over the past decade. Last year, TASK provided more than 373,000 meals to the Mercer County area — this represents a 5 percent increase from the prior year.
Part of the reason TASK’s meal service has grown is because it continues to partner with local organizations to serve hot nutritious meals to hungry individuals and families who do not live in Trenton or within walking distance to TASK’s facility. Executive Director, Joyce Campbell says TASK’s Meal Service Program now has 14 locations who provide food into the surrounding communities of Ewing, Hamilton, Hightstown, Yardville, Princeton, and Bordentown.
The growing meal count also includes TASK’s Send Hunger Packing Program, a collaboration with the Mercer Street Friends Food Bank and local schools to feed more than 1000 school children who have little food at home. TASK provides weekend meals to the children who qualify for the federal free and reduced school lunch and breakfast programs, so they can come to school Monday morning on a full stomach and ready to learn.
TASK serves two meals a day Monday through Thursday and one meal on Friday, plus meals through its satellite locations in the area throughout the week. Once people are fed, Campbell says, nourishing their minds and spirits is the next step to getting them back on the road to self-sufficiency.
“We’re so much more than a soup kitchen,” added Campbell.
The staggering amount of work TASK does is even more remarkable, considering only 30 people are on staff. TASK simply cannot do without its loyal and generous supporters: “It’s thanks to our partners, volunteers and donors that we’re able to do as much as we do.”
TASK is always looking for people to help. To check out volunteer opportunities or to donate, visit www.TrentonSoupKitchen.org or call 609-695-5456.