JOANN'S FOOD PANTRY at First Presbyterian Church of Avenel

Welcome to our Food Pantry page. The purpose of our food pantry is to distribute food to low income and unemployed households, and to relieve emergency situations. Our food pantry is a lifeline to those less fortunate.

Hours of Operation

The last Tuesday of each month from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Emergency food supplies are available through the Church Office at all other times.

Eligibility/Income Requirements

You must participate in one of these automatic qualifier programs and show some form of program identification to be eligible to get your commodities:

  • Temporary Assistance to Needy Families(TANF)
  • Food Stamp Program (FSP) - SNAP
  • Supplemental Social Security Income (SSI)
  • Woman, Infants and Children (WIC)
  • Medicaid
  • Income Eligible
  • Disaster

Source of acceptable income documentation are:

  • Current pay check stub
  • Pay envelope showing total gross pay
  • Letter from employer stating gross wages
  • Letter from employer stating wages paid and frequency
  • Copy of benefit letter from welfare agency
  • Copy of award letter from the Social Security Administration
  • Verification of direct deposited Social Security check (i.e., copy of bank statement)

History of Joann's Food Pantry

The pantry has been in existence for many years. It was originally called the Deacons Pantry because the Deacons operated it. Food was distributed monthly to those in need.

Members of the congregation donated the food. They gave as much as they could, but many times the pantry shelves were not very full and we could not give out as much food as we wanted to or as we needed.

One of our deacons, namely Joann Breza, was instrumental in getting our church involved with the Community Food Bank of Hillside. Because of her hard work in exploring the many options that were available to food pantries, and the hours she spent in filling out all the government forms necessary for us to become a member of the Community Food Bank, we were able to obtain much more food and at a very low cost. We were also able to take part in the government's Emergency Food Assistance Program and obtain USDA commodities for free. Joann also saw to it that we were made aware of the many food drives and other sources of food that were available to food pantries.

Joann, along with her husband Gene, worked many long and hard hours to supply the much needed food to our pantry. Without her dedication to this project, our food pantry would not be what it is today.

Joann passed away on Thanksgiving Day 1999, but before she did, the Deacons wanted to honor her dedication by naming the pantry after her. We are now all proud to be a part of this worthwhile cause.

Thanksgiving Baskets

Each year, the congregation (through the Deacons) is asked to help supply turkeys, Stove Top stuffing, gravy mix, canned vegetables, canned fruit, cranberry sauce, instant potatoes, cookies and nuts to fill Thanksgiving Baskets. This project helps make Thanksgiving a true blessing to those in need.

If God is your co-pilot, swap seats.