Innovating New Ways to Get the Job Done

TASK comes together with the Muslim Center of Greater Princeton and the Tuchman Foundation to launch new mobile meal delivery program serving Mercer County families

HUNGER VAN INITIATIVE: The “Hunger Van” parked and ready to begin delivering meals on Christmas Eve of 2020.

As 2020 comes to an end, TASK looks forward to launching its final project of the year– a mobile meal delivery program established through partnership with Muslim Center of Greater Princeton (MCGP) and The Tuchman Foundation.  

“One of the most important things is that people must be fed, so we have to think of innovative ways to get the job done,” shares Martin “Marty” Tuchman, Chairman of the Tuchman Foundation and member of TASK’s Board of Trustees.

The concept of a mobile meal delivery strategy was first kindled earlier this year when the abrupt onset of the COVID-19 pandemic challenged TASK’s Board of Trustees to adapt the soup kitchen’s traditional means of meal service to new social distancing restrictions and explore other means to meet the rapidly increasing demand for food in Mercer County. Arrested by its potential, Tuchman and Sajid Syed-another longtime Board Member at TASK-immediately committed to the idea of a “Hunger Van”. Their vision: a mobile unit that would deliver prepared meals to families unable to get to TASK or one of its community meal sites in Mercer County.

“The ‘Hunger Van’ is really Marty and Sajid’s brainchild,” admits TASK Executive Director Joyce Campbell. “When the idea came up other Board Members quickly got on board, but we still needed to figure out how make this project come to life.”

The vision grew even clearer when Syed, who is also a constituent of MCGP, took a leap of faith and purchased a van with funding provided by the Tuchman Foundation.

“We are doing what we have always done,” says Tuchman, “Except now, the need is heightened.”

To meet this growing need the “Hunger Van” will operate seven days each week, delivering anywhere between 600 to 1000 meals to hungry families in four locations in Ewing, Morrisville and Trenton, no questions asked. While the delivery strategy will be steered by The Center, TASK will supplement food provided by MCGP with meals purchased from local restaurants such as Afghan Kabob, Eet GudBakery, Asian Halal and Mexican Meriachi.

 “We want to feed as many Mercer County families as possible during this unique time,” adds TASK Associate Director of Operations, Paul Jensen. “Roping local restaurants into this strategy is helping them to stay open as well.”

For the last three years, the Muslim Center of Greater Princeton has taken pride in sponsoring meals at TASK, especially during the holidays when it may be a little harder recruiting volunteers.

“We look at serving meals on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as a way to relieve our Christian brothers and sisters who celebrate those holidays differently from us,” shares Syed.

Not only will MCGP provide meals for patrons who come to pick up to-go trays from the TASK’s main dining hall on Escher Street this afternoon, but they are also thrilled to begin delivering meals to hungry families across Mercer County during a time when its needed most.