Mike Bruno, director of Human Needs Food Pantry, 9 Label Street, Montclair, NJ , Tuesday. Nov. 28 offering food, clothing and social services to Montclair and Essex County residents.
PHOTO BY ADAM ANIK

By ERIN ROLL
roll@montclairlocal.news

It was shaping up to be a difficult Thanksgiving for clients of the Human Needs Food Pantry, but donors came through after the pantry appealed to the community on social media.

The food pantry, which is at 9 Label St. and recently celebrated its 35th anniversary, ended up being able to meet the needs of all of its clients for Thanksgiving through the donations that came in response to the social media campaigns.

“Every single person who came for food received a full Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings for their household because of YOU!” pantry director Mike Bruno said in a letter posted on Human Needs’ Facebook page. “Thank you for all the food drives, the events, and the donations large and small.”

Bruno also expressed his thanks to attendees at the Nov. 21 interfaith community worship service held by the clergy associations of Bloomfield, Glen Ridge and Montclair, at which he was the guest speaker. The annual service took place at Temple Ner Tamid in Bloomfield.
Bruno told attendees that the food had been distributed earlier that day.

According to Bruno’s post on Facebook, the pantry took in, and distributed, 940 turkeys, 50 turkey breasts, 180 large roasting chickens and seven hams.

Donors also brought in more than 2,000 bags of groceries, more than 200 assorted pies and other items.

“Your generosity and your commitment to answering our social media pleas for needed items throughout this past week made the difference and allowed us to meet the need for hundreds and hundreds of people in our community.

“Everything we asked for came — without exception,” Bruno wrote.

In the week leading up to Thanksgiving, the pantry staff issued an urgent appeal over social media asking for donations, reporting that the pantry was running short on Thanksgiving-related items.

On the Monday before Thanksgiving, Bruno told the Montclair Local that boxed items, including stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes and corn muffin mix were especially needed, along with additional turkeys.

When asked what had caused the lack of donations prior to Thanksgiving, Bruno said the holiday season had come up rather suddenly for pantry staff and donors this year.

Within a few hours of the announcements being posted on social media, donors began to drop off bags of donations.

Donors included individuals and families, as well as businesses and institutions, such as Mountainside Hospital, that held company-wide food drives.

Human Needs Food Pantry has a roster of registered clients that are served first on food distribution days. But the pantry also sees long lines of drop-in clients who show up at the pantry doors on Tuesdays hoping to receive something. Those clients are served after the registered clients receive their allotments.