Rent Party and MEND (Meeting Emergency Needs with Dignity) received an official proclamation from Maplewood township at Tuesday night's Township Committee meeting.
Committee member Jerry Ryan presented the proclamation, which cited the work the two organizations are doing in conjunction with the upcoming Neighbor 2 Neighbor Community Food Drive on Saturday, March 9 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the South Orange Elks.
Chris Dickson and David Wagner accepted the proclamation on behalf of Rent Party and John Pearson accepted on behalf of MEND.
The drive is coordinating food donations to distribute to local pantries. Rent Party and MEND have enlisted the participation of various organizations including Prospect Presbyterian Church, Morrow Methodist Church, St. Joseph's Church, Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Beth El Synagogue, St. George's Church and Temple Sharey Tefilo, as well as SOM Public Schools, Prospect Preschool, HK Project, United Aid Foundation and You Give Goods.com.
The proclamation also noted that food donations are needed more than ever as unemployment in the state is currently at 9.9% -- the fourth highest in the nation -- and more than 16% of Essex County residents live below the federal poverty line.
The township also proclaimed March as Women's History Month, honoring women throughout history who have made an impact on all aspects of society. Deputy Mayor Kathleen Leventhal invited all the women in the audience to stand with her at the podium as she read the proclamation.