A small group of people met in downtown Trenton, because hunger was an evident problem in New Jersey’s capital and they wanted to do something about it. They believed everyone should have enough to eat.
After several months of planning, the group launched the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen – widely known as TASK — with a purpose “to feed the truly needy people of Trenton five days a week without cost to the individual in need.”
On January 13, TASK served its first meal from the basement of the First Methodist Church of Trenton. Soup and butter sandwiches were all we could offer at first, but because of the generosity of the community, food donations trickled in and TASK was able to expand its menu and provide more nutritious food items. By the end of the year, more than 40,000 meals were served.
Due to long lines, space limitations and government regulations, TASK could no longer use the basement of the church to serve meals and was asked to leave. TASK became homeless.
Despite many challenges, for the next few years, TASK would serve meals from temporary locations and parking lots throughout the city.
After nearly two years of uncertainty, the Salvation Army agreed to allow TASK to serve meals out of its building in downtown Trenton.
The City of Trenton allowed TASK to lease land on Escher Street to construct a permanent home to serve meals.
After completing a $600,000 building project, on July 22, TASK opened its doors to serve nearly 400 hungry people. At the building dedication, TASK is hailed as a triumph of community.
TASK expanded its mission from serving free meals to include “providing services to encourage self-sufficiency and improve quality of life of its patrons.” That same year, we started our Adult Education Program to provide tutoring in literacy, math and preparation for the high school GED exam.
With the help of volunteers and a group of self-taught artists, TASK fostered the development
of the A-Team Artists of Trenton to provide an outlet for creative expression and teach
TASK added Case Management Services to its growing list of programs to assist patrons with
immediate needs and help people create pathways to leave hunger behind.
To reduce the distance between our hungry neighbours and our meals, TASK established a
Satellite Meal Partnership Program to deliver meals to other locations throughout the city of
TASK launched SHARE, a creative writing and music program to increase self-esteem by giving a voice to those interested in poetry, music dance and theatre. In 2010, SHARE was named the grand prize winner of the Shoprite-General Mills “Expressions of Hunger” video contest and the group was featured on 150,000 boxes of Cheerios.
TASK expands its Satellite Meal Program and starts to deliver meals outside the city of Trenton.
TASK partners with the local food bank to tackle childhood hunger by joining Send Hunger Packing, a weekend meal program to feed children who have little to eat at home, so they can return to school on Monday with a full belly and ready to learn.
TASK expands its Satellite Meal Program to more than 10 locations and starts to deliver meals outside of Mercer County.
Feeding is just the first step! TASK adds employment services, life-skills workshops and job-training components to Adult Education Program.
TASK completes 3,300 sq. ft. building project to meet the growing need for food and services
and help more patrons work toward a brighter future.
TASK expands programs to add Emilio’s Culinary Academy, TASK’s first job-training program to help people find work in the food and hospitality industry.