St. Peter's Haven Plans November Fundraiser to Help With Ida Repairs

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St. Peter’s Haven, a Clifton nonprofit established as a ministry of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, to help the hungry and homeless is holding a fundraiser for the month of November Eat, Drink, Give, Thanksgiving.  It features 30 participating Clifton restaurants.  Diners can donate $1, $5 or $10 to support St. Peter’s Haven when dining in or getting take-out.

For 35 years, the Haven has provided food and shelter to families and individuals in need, often  when life is its bleakest. In addition to serving Clifton residents, the Haven is listed as an emergency pantry and receives referrals from the Salvation Army, aiding residents from Passaic, Paterson, Garfield & Wallington.  As affiliates of the Community Food Bank of NJ and CUMAC (the Center for United Methodist Aid to the Community) they accept anyone who comes to the door needing assistance.

They’ve seen this need increase during the pandemic. “We have had a 32% increase in the number of clients since the start of the pandemic, we’re now serving 600 families or about 1600 individuals a month,” shared acting Executive Director, Pam Fueshko.  In addition to the food pantry, St. Peter’s Haven has a shelter to provide short term housing; their two shelter houses can support 3 families at a time.  As the need for assistance with the homeless population has grown, the Haven began a collaboration with the Clifton Health Department to provide food and referral services to the homeless. These services the Haven provides, supplemental food assistance, transitional housing, and case work services allow families to maintain a sense of normalcy while working in collaboration with veteran benefits, housing and food subsidies, cash assistance and many others.

Tragically, when Hurricane Ida struck north Jersey, the Haven wasn’t spared.  Both the Haven and church offices on the lower level of the parish hall were destroyed.  Fueshko explained, “A basement door collapsed from the water pressure and flooded our lower level with 4’8” of water.” That level included the Haven offices and storage of items for the homeless including backpacks, school supplies and toys for holiday distribution.

The initial estimate of damages from the insurance company has just recently been received, and Fueshko explains “It is our hope that the rebuild will begin within the next month.”

Unfortunately as many others have found, the Haven’s insurance did not have a flood clause, so everything has to be replaced through fundraising including office furniture, technology equipment and supplies. The food pantry area is also set to undergo a planned renovation to increase storage capacity, some work will begin while the offices are restored but can’t be finished until the lower level is again functional.

This November fundraiser will help cover the costs to replace items for the office as well as ongoing purchases for the food pantry.  Councilwoman Lauren Murphy a past Board Member for the organization explained, “St. Peter’s Haven was hit very hard by Ida, this fundraiser will help offset some repair costs and the hardship that devastated this amazing organization that helps so many.” Fueshko noted that the Haven often sees a decline in donations January through March, so they must plan now to purchase enough food to provide families consistently through the early spring.

In addition to the fundraiser, volunteers are also welcome to assist with event planning and supply distribution, fundraisers and administrative work. Fueshko also suggests local companies can plan a “community service day” to have their staff assist for a day, this just requires advance notice to coordinate.

The Haven staff is also busy planning its next fundraiser, the Bloomin 5K Run on April 22nd. This was previously held in 2019 but was cancelled for 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic.

The full list of participating restaurants can be found on the St. Peter’s Haven website here. Just mention that you’re there to support St. Peter’s Haven!





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