Boys & Girls Clubs of Mercer County provides young people, ages 5 to 18, with social, enrichment, and recreational activities. Over 2,600 kids from over 20 different schools are served each year, 90% of whom benefit from scholarships provided by generous donors. Programs take place at four sites in Trenton and surrounding townships that have been re-opening as safety dictates in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Boys & Girls Clubs are currently running a fundraising campaign to keep the organization moving forward with six additional sites. Donations help to provide for both younger children and teens with a safe place to learn and grow. Teens benefit from college and career preparation programs, paid internships, mentorship programs and assistance with developing post-high school pathways. Every summer more than 700 children and teens enjoy swimming, art, sports, dance, STEM and exciting field trips through the Club’s summer camps. And if someone on your Christmas list can use a bicycle or has a bike they no longer use — check out the BGC Bike Exchange in Capital Plaza on Spruce Street. The Bike Exchange sells gently used, quality bikes to support the work of Boys & Girls Clubs of Mercer County.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Mercer County – 609-392-3191 • www.bgcmercer.org
Meals on Wheels Mercer County has provided essential services to isolated seniors for many years, but CEO Sasa Montaño points to the current pandemic as “An a-ha moment: Now during the pandemic, it’s especially clear that home is the safest place for seniors. They generally want to stay in their homes, but in the last year and a half, people all around now understand what social isolation is about. The community has really stepped up for us. The isolated senior population was pretty much invisible, but senior hunger is increasing because of inflation," said Montaño.
Trenton is a city with vast ‘food deserts’ — only two large supermarkets—so it’s difficult for homebound seniors to get out and shop. Many of the people Meals on Wheels serve have special dietary needs so the menu is carefully crafted to focus on diabetic-friendly and low-sodium foods. "It’s about more than just the food though. Our seniors suffer from social isolation, so the daily contact is equally important. Our volunteers may be the only contact some people have all day. We have an amazing group of dedicated volunteers who make such a difference. It’s not just about the people we serve; our volunteers are part of our wonderful community,” said Montaño. Meals on Wheels Mercer County welcomes your donations and also invites new volunteers.
Meals on Wheels Mercer County – 609-695-3483 • www.mealsonwheelsmercer.org
Anchor House began 43 years ago as a shelter for homeless youth, and has since grown to provide a full range of services for at-risk youth, ages 12 to 24. Executive Director, Kim McNear, says that Anchor House offers the area’s only youth shelter with an outreach to get youth off the street and house them safely, while providing transitional programs, with education in life skills such as cooking, budgeting, getting a driver’s license, job readiness, and more. Anchor House provides a school outreach program to address mental health and emotional needs, and assist with any type of trauma or crisis. The shelter also supports and affirms the diverse identities and lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and intersex persons. Due to COVID concerns, volunteer opportunities at the shelter’s location are limited for the moment, but Anchor House welcomes volunteers willing to drive to assist with basic needs. Monetary donations are of course most welcome too!
Anchor House – 609-396-8329 • www.anchorhousenj.org
Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK) prepares more than 10,000 meals each week. TASK serves two meals, five days a week at its main location at 77 1/2 Escher Street, off North Clinton Avenue, and has expanded to reach 31 meal sites in the area, including 10 senior sites in Trenton and two schools in surrounding townships. Though the pandemic has been a challenge for all, TASK has now reopened its Escher Street site with COVID precautions in place. Altogether, the organization has increased its meal production by 70% since the pandemic hit. TASK works to minimize the environmental impact of its prepared meals by the use of biodegradable containers. In addition to the very real need for food, TASK also works to address other needs for the poor and homeless, with adult education, arts programs, and case management. One necessity that never occurs to most of us is personal identification. TASK addresses the need for ID as a gateway for individuals to obtain veterans benefits, voter registration, housing and other assistance. Michelle Wexler, TASK’s Development Director, gives the example of one client who was originally from North Carolina and whose name had gone through different spellings on his birth certificate and other documents; TASK was able to establish his identity and enable him to receive veterans benefits and more. TASK welcomes financial donations and volunteers for many different aspects of its work.
Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK) – 609-695-5456 • www.trentonsoupkitchen.org
People in and around Trenton share their treasure, talent, and time at these organizations and many others to help their neighbors. Check them out!