When Superstorm Sandy roared ashore on October 29, 2012 our community was decimated, and our residents were in absolute shock. While everyone was trying to grasp the reality of what had happened, our community leaders were already putting supports in place. One of the first things they were faced with was to open the Peoples Pantry. This needed to be done as soon as possible to assist the residents in stabilizing. The first person who answered the call was Joel Perlmutter. When our first location was found, Joel sent his employees to set up all the shelving, unpack, sort, and organize all the donations and to help with our first distributions. It did not end there! Through the years there has been tremendous support from the Perlmutter Family Shoprite's. Their donation to the retail program through Fulfill would bring in over 100,000 lbs. of food to Peoples Pantry alone, and much more throughout our county.
Friday March 3, 2017, the world became a little darker. Our community lost a great man, Joel Perlmutter, a true mensch, a friend, and advisor. It was an honor to know him, be guided by him and call him my friend…. Joel you left this world a much better place then you found it. Thank you. Joel’s spirt of giving and community will live forever in the hearts of those of us who knew you. - Pat Donaghue
The Joel E. Perlmutter Memorial Food Pantry will be bringing a reliable, free food source to the area and offering a full delivery service. Our program includes a supermarket style client choice food pantry. We will be offering fresh produce, meats, cheeses, healthy canned and dry goods, bakery products and much more. We will be offering and delivering hot, nutritious, supplemental meals to those in need daily. We will also be delivering full pantry orders to the clients who are unable to get to the facility and we will be running mobile pantries on a weekly basis, especially to the Crestwood Villages. In addition, we also be providing a shopping service that will be funded by the consumer. By doing the deliveries we will also be able to do well checks on these folks and immediately connect them to other social or emergency services or contact loved ones, when needed.
Throughout Monmouth and Ocean Counties there are 280 food pantries. Only 5 of those pantries operate 5 days a week. There is only one organization that delivers, they are located in Monmouth County in the Red Bank area. They deliver only pantry baskets, no meals, no groceries. We will be ensuring all needed food and supplies will be delivered to our most vulnerable seniors and the disabled, while running a brick and mortar site 5 days a week and providing mobile pantry services every weekend.
Using a multifaceted approach to determine the need in the area, we relied on 4 factors.
Real Estate: Using a 6-mile radius from our location we determined there are 6929 households whose home values are at or well below $45,000 threshold, deeming it low income housing. On average housing costs are $780.00 per month with an average property tax burden of $4,500.00 annually.
Census: When trying to discern the population of those households the formula of 1.87 persons per address. Giving us a population of 12,818.65 individuals. Eight hundred seventy-two (872) or 14.7% of this population is disabled and are deemed possible shut-ins suffering with social isolation.
State of New Jersey USDA Office: Using empirical data supplied by the State of New Jersey USDA Office, within the same 6 mile radius, 10,402 individuals over the age of 65 are currently enrolled USDA and SFPP (state food purchase program) services putting them at 185% poverty level or lower.
State of New Jersey Veterans Administration: In our immediate area there are 4969 veterans in need. According to the Data provided by Live Stories an organization that supports our veterans and active military, 20% of these American Heroes are also suffering with a service-related disability.
The focus population that will be served are seniors, veterans and the disabled. All are low income and are at or below, the poverty level. We will be focusing primarily on the Manchester / Whiting area when we launch, as this area is the most underserved and in need. Services can be expanded if needed.
Based on our 8 (eight) year history in Emergency Food Distribution we anticipate the following from the targeted area we are focusing on:
All of these services can easily be expanded to meet the need in the event of a resurgence of Covid 19
To target the populations listed, we will be visiting all the adult communities we have identified as low income and those with a high percentage of in need seniors. We will be placing announcements in all their newsletters and be distributing all the information in the local businesses these folk frequent. We have begun the process of notifying the medical community and the social workers attached to the medical providers. We will be in constant contact with the County offices along with the municipal offices. Houses of worship will have our information and will be putting it in their bulletins. Inspire-nj will also be taking out ad space in the local community newspapers. We will also utilize social media that is connected to the developments and the HOA’s. The property managers will be met with to arrange the mobile pantry and are willing to notify the residents of all of our services. Finally, our outreach director will be presenting at all meetings in these communities including board meetings, women’s club meetings and the social club meetings. We are in discussions at this time for the Property Managers of these communities will not only disseminate our information but contact us with concerns regarding a resident that they feel is in need of services of any kind, not just food.
Our services will be available to all of Ocean County Seniors and Veterans. Upon launching our primary focus area will be Manchester/ Whiting section of the county where the largest population of seniors in need are located. Historically this area is greatly underserved. According to the last census approximately 95% of the residents in this area are seniors over the age of 65yrs., 14.7% are disabled. We will be evaluating the quality of our service by utilizing client and case management surveys. We will also be evaluating our performance by interview questions at every visit with the client. We will be constantly adjusting how we provide service based on the evaluations of those we serve while always keeping cost in mind. Inspire-NJ has always strived to deliver the best service at the lowest cost possible. In our world, $1.00 has the potential to produce 3 meals through the products offered through a food pantry. Thank you for your support!