Wednesday, April 24, 2024

30 Years of Neighbors Helping Neighbors: Open Cupboard Food Pantry Celebrates Three Decades of Addressing Hunger

Last updated Tuesday, April 2, 2024 19:26 ET

Established in 1993, Open Cupboard Food Pantry celebrated 30 years of generosity last year, a milestone showcasing the organization’s devotion to improving communities and addressing food insecurity.

Clinton, New Jersey, 04/02/2024 / SubmitMyPR /

Stark contrasts between states, counties, and even neighborhoods have always astonished residents, showcasing critical differences in average income, food deprivation, and homelessness rates. Located in the picturesque and thriving Hunterdon, one of the wealthiest counties in the US, and also operating in the less privileged county of Warren, Open Cupboard Food Pantry (OCFP) has experienced the evident disparity between two closely located regions firsthand. In 2023, OCFP celebrated 30 years of changing the lives of less fortunate individuals and fighting food deprivation.

Anne Underhill planted the seed of Open Cupboard Food Pantry in 1993 when she started the High Bridge Food Pantry based in a small closet in the High Bridge United Methodist Church. Driven by Anne’s desire to help a needful family in the chilly month of November that year, the humble High Bridge Food Pantry grew to meet the needs of a larger community. In 1997, the organization changed its name to Open Cupboard Food Pantry, symbolizing the increasing impact of the non-profit.

From a simple closet to a full-scale operation, the journey of OCFP was driven by the organization's unwavering passion to serve its community. Over 1,700 volunteers have assisted OCFP over the years, eager to contribute to the virtuous cause and propel the growth of Anne’s impactful concept. The organization, to ensure sustainability, expanded its Pantry services, creating a unique thrift store that resells donated household items, clothing, and many others.

The model Open Cupboard Food Pantry operates on has been perfected and altered as the world evolved. At its core, it’s a community-forward project, and community is exactly what powers it. According to Jennifer Tavormina, the Executive Director of OCFP, the culture and demographic of the county is innately generous and keen to give back to the less fortunate. Additionally, by leveraging the power of social media, OCFP attracts younger generations to revel in the joy of thrifting while contributing to a good cause.

In 2019, Anne decided to retire, bequeathing her responsibilities to Jennifer. “When I came on board, the goal was to modernize our services, increase efficiency, and leverage advanced technologies. The pandemic, ironically, helped me execute this vision, forcing paperless methods onto us,” adds Jennifer.

In February 2024, the beloved building OCFP rented burned down, pressurizing the organization to pivot. Due to the introduced technology, OCFP was able to come back within weeks, change locations, and continue providing its mission.

Staffed almost entirely by volunteers, Open Cupboard Food Party is a private nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that fulfills the community’s responsibility to address local needs for food and other essentials. Due to its functional, effective model, based on private donations and community support, OCFP, during its 30-year-long journey, has provided over two million pounds of food, ensuring 8,600 people in 22 communities escape the daunting reality of food drought.

“‘Neighbors helping neighbors’ is our motto. Anne began the project with a clear goal in mind and an urge to help in her heart, and now, the Board and volunteers at OCFP are committed to continuing her mission,” shares Jennifer. “For over 30 years, the organization has been a staple in our communities, helping those in need, restoring a sense of equality, and addressing dire food insecurity.”

Media Contact

Name: Jennifer Tavormina

Email: [email protected]

Original Source of the original story >> 30 Years of Neighbors Helping Neighbors: Open Cupboard Food Pantry Celebrates Three Decades of Addressing Hunger