Carolyn Biondi, right, executive director of Crisis Ministry, accepts donations collected in the Mercer County supply drive from Timberlane teacher Mark Amantia, left, and Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes at Hunt HouseFull size photo

Carolyn Biondi, right, executive director of Crisis Ministry, accepts donations collected in the Mercer County supply drive from Timberlane teacher Mark Amantia, left, and Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes at Hunt House

CONTACT: Julie Willmot
(609) 278-7137

TRENTON, N.J. - From pasta to olives to beans to breakfast cereal, local residents and school children responded to County Executive Brian M. Hughes’ call to assist Crisis Ministry of Princeton and Trenton, which suffered a devastating fire at its Trenton site the week before Christmas, destroying pantries full of food and personal care items.

Goods collected over the past month at various county facilities were delivered to the Mercer County Park Commission’s Hunt House headquarters, where Carolyn Biondi, executive director of Crisis Ministry, accepted box upon box of goods from Hughes and from Timberlane Middle School teacher Mark Amantia. Timberlane, part of the Hopewell Valley Regional School District, was instrumental in the drive’s success.

“This shows what I’ve known all along: that Mercer County has a lot of caring people,” Hughes said as he unpacked bags of donated goods for delivery.

Biondi said the organization’s food pantry had been serving 80 households a day, adding, “We hope to get back to that level shortly.” She warmly accepted sacks and boxes of groceries from Hughes and Amantia.

Amantia, social studies teacher, said eighth-graders collected food and supplies for Crisis Ministry as a service project. “One of the things our principal, Anthony Suozzo, really pushes is service to others,” he said. “This was really just a small part of that.”

Biondi added that thanks to the county’s and Timberlane’s donations, as well as those by so many others in the community, the food pantry is now on the road to recovery. “It’s the support of schools like Timberlane that’s helped us get back to where we are now. The support from the county has been truly amazing. We got help with phones, infrastructure and shelving that very weekend (after the Friday fire).”

Also yesterday, Hopewell Valley Community Bank contributed to the Mercer County Drive by dropping off a generous check to Crisis Ministry of Princeton and Trenton. Hughes thanked the bank saying, “Hopewell Valley Community Bank and CEO Pat Ryan show time and again their commitment to our great county. I know I speak for many in Mercer County when I say how fortunate and grateful we are to have HVC Bank as our friend and neighbor.”

Mercer County joined numerous other groups and agencies in coming to the Ministry’s aid. The Ministry has temporarily relocated a few doors down from its East Hanover Street site to 117 E. Hanover St., Trenton. Mercer County was able to provide pantry shelves with shelf units from the Mercer County Library System; County Office of Information Technology assisted by facilitating computer and phone access; and desks, chairs and file cabinets from the McDade Administration Building were loaned.

The Crisis Ministry also has satellite food pantry locations at 400 Hamilton Ave., Trenton; and at Nassau Presbyterian Church, Nassau Street, Princeton. Please call Crisis Ministry for drop-off times at (609) 396-9355. Additional information can be found at its website at www.thecrisisministry.org.