Friday, July 19, 2024

Keeping up with Overwhelming Generosity: Open Cupboard Food Pantry Leased a Temporary Retail Space, But It Isn’t Enough

Last updated Friday, June 21, 2024 10:20 ET , Source: Jennifer Tavormina

Pivoting after a wrecking fire, Open Cupboard Food Pantry, a food donations nonprofit, secured a new retail space, and is still hunting for a permanent location to meet rising food insecurity needs.

Clinton, New Jersey, 06/21/2024 / SubmitMyPR /

Since its establishment in 1993, Open Cupboard Food Pantry (OCFP) has become a staple in the Hunterdon and Warren counties, relentlessly bridging the gap between food insecurity needs and reality. In February 2024, after over 30 years of improving the livelihoods of local communities, one of OCFP’s two locations burned down in a devastating fire, forcing the nonprofit to pivot. Recently, Jennifer Tavormina, Executive Director, shared that a new temporary location, opening on the 1st of August, has been secured. Despite the good news, OCFP is still seeking its forever home.

For decades, OCFP has been sustaining its operations, rewarding employees, and purchasing and delivering food thanks to an in-house thrift store, where visitors could contribute to a good cause by purchasing unique second-hand clothes or home decor items. The fire destroyed all objects stored in the shop, depriving the organization of a substantial monthly income. Since then, more fundraising initiatives aimed at fueling OCFP’s mission have been raised. “Our community has really come together,” adds Jennifer. “In fact, it has been such a tremendous success that we have run out of space!”

Through a short-term rental arrangement, OCFP will open a 2nd temporary location that will return thrift store activities to the nonprofit’s offering and expand the current storage space. In the long term, Open Cupboard Food Pantry is striving to build a spacious facility from scratch, enlarging its capacity and impact on the communities.

“Based on the recent internal research, more storage isn’t a want, but a need,” stresses Jennifer. “In the last month, we have seen 18% more people coming in to seek help. That accounted for more than 20,000 pounds of food donated in that short time, showcasing the rising food insecurity in the region. Without a new facility, we won’t be able to meet that spiking need. Operating on just 30% of what our initial space was, we can feel the struggle. We are ready for the next step.”

Currently, OCFP’s team is on a quest to build their permanent home - an at least 6,000 square feet facility located in the same geographic region. That dedication to remaining in the same locale is driven by the dire food insecurity situation—about 8.8% of the population in New Jersey struggles with adequate access to food and insufficient resources.

Through all the obstacles and against all odds, Open Cupboard Food Pantry never strayed away from its mission, swiftly becoming a staple for the New Jersey communities. These communities supported OCFP when it faced the harrowing fire, making generous donations and sustaining its mission.

Neighbors helping neighbors has been driving OCFP’s vision since the start, and now, the nonprofit is the one asking for help. Those who want to contribute to combating food insecurity can support OCFP by offering construction expertise and experience, sharing architectural advice, donating materials, and more. With plans to complete the project in 18 months - until December 2025 - OCFP is bound to expand its reach and the positive impact it has left over the years.

Before embarking on a new rewarding chapter of ownership, Jennifer shares a message: “Thank you to all our community members and everyone who made donations of all sizes. No words can describe how much all this help meant for us. It truly was the only reason we were able to continue after the fire. Thank you so much. The fact that we have run out of space to store these donations is a testament to the immense power of unity. Now, because of logistical reasons, we need to reshape our strategy and ask for financial donations and supermarket gift cards. The last thing we want is to see your generosity go to waste. In the future, we will have enough storage to house more food. Until then, thank you once again for supporting Open Cupboard Food Pantry and our community.”

Media Contact

Name: Jennifer Tavormina

Email: [email protected]

Original Source of the original story >> Keeping up with Overwhelming Generosity: Open Cupboard Food Pantry Leased a Temporary Retail Space, But It Isn’t Enough