HomeFront: helping families break the cycle of poverty
 
The homeless problem is smaller than you think.

The homeless problem in Mercer County is smaller than you think.

Donate Now!

HomeFront

Hamilton Jewelers and Women's Initiative Team Up to Host David Yurman Charity Event
Hamilton Jewelers and the Women's Initiative will co-host a David Yurman Charity Event to benefit HomeFront on Thursday, November 6 at Hamilton's 92 Nassau Street location in Princeton.

Chances will be sold for an opportunity to win a lady's white enamed steel and ceramic David Yurman watch.  For more information about this fun and 'invitation only' event, call 609-989-9417, ext. 107.

How Many in Your Town Struggle to Make Ends Meet
NJ.com Sept. 14, 2014--A new report from the United Way of Northern New Jersey shows that 38 percent of state households are struggling to meet basic needs with the high cost of living in the Garden State.

The report, called ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed), paints a stark picture of how widespread financial hardship like Ticehurst’s is in New Jersey.

Though New Jersey is one of the wealthiest states in the country, it also costs more to like here than most parts of the United States.

While 11 percent of state residents fall below the Federal Poverty Line, which stands at an annual income of $22,811 for a family of four, the report found that when adjusted for cost of living the same family needs nearly triple that -- $61,200 – just to meet a basic survival budget.

The map above shows what percentage of households in each town fall below the ALICE threshold. Click or hover over a town for more information, including comparisons to the rest of that town's county and the state of New Jersey.

Click here to see how many in your town struggle to make ends meet.

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2014/09/interactive_map_how_many_in_your_town_are_struggling_to_make_ends_meet_1.html#comments

 

WorkFirst Announces 24 Job Placements

WorkFirst staff proudly congratulates HomeFront's 24 clients who have successfully landed jobs over the last two months. It just goes to show how perseverance, a great resume, good interviewing skills and the right qualifications pay off!

Over 1000 Kids Receive Backpacks!
This year, over 1,600 kids went back to school ready to learn. HomeFront's Back to School Campaign provided backpacks loaded with school supplies and a brand new outfit including tennis shoes.

 This effort involved hundreds of volunteers, businesses, civic groups and congregations.

Trenton Thunder Honors HomeFront and Plays Catch with Our Campers
Trenton Thunder honored HomeFront during their HOPE Week at last Friday night’s game.

Trenton Thunder honored HomeFront during their HOPE Week at last Friday night’s game. The video link below shows our campers having a great time playing catch with the Thunder players when they visited our Summer Camp last week. Having the opportunity to spend the day with a Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees is an experience that our Campers will cherish for many years to come. Thank you for your continuous support to HomeFront, but most importantly, our children.

www.youtube.com/watch

 

 

 

 

Over 725 Books Read in HomeFront's Summer Reading Program
Thirty-three children in our Summer Reading Program read over 725 books! We couldn't be prouder of the kids, their moms and Miss Melva Moore, HomeFront's Educational Excellence Director, who made it all happen.

 Pictured on the left is HomeFront's Giving Tree where some of the books are displayed.

New Family Campus Makes News on Comcast Newsmakers

Comcast's Jill Horner speaks with Connie Mercer, CEO of the Homefront, about New Family Campus and other Opportunities.
 
 

Trenton Times Editorial: HomeFront makes a SPLASH in Delaware River Lessons
August 4, 2014, The lessons of the Delaware River are legion. Experiencing the river not as scenery but a channel and a route to the wide world can widen the imagination.

The lessons of the Delaware River are legion.

Experiencing the river not as scenery but a channel and a route to the wide world can widen the imagination.

That sort of encounter may be rare for city residents working to fulfill course requirements for a chance at a better life. But last month, as Kelly Johnson reported in The Times, such a confluence occurred as 20 Trenton women embarked on a journey along the Delaware aboard SPLASH, a replica of a 19th-century paddleboat.

The passengers and their conveyance are object lessons in determination.

The women are enrolled in the the HomeFront program WorkFirst, which involves GED preparatory classes, resume and cover letter writing, practice interviews and life skills training. as they hone their skills to begin searching for a job.

HomeFront, the social services agency based in Ewing, is dedicated to breaking the cycles of poverty and homelessness that condemn far too many to a life bereft of hope and caught up in constant struggles for the barest necessities.

The women are actively engaged in shattering the sequence. Eager to get off public assistance and provide for themselves and their families, they were exploring the river as they explore their own potential.

The captain, crew and instructors on SPLASH — Student Participation in Learning Aquatic Science and History — meanwhile introduced the women to the river’s elements and levels of acidity. They learned about the causes of pollution threatening the region’s drinking water supply, and they got a crash course in the physics and mechanics of steamboat travel.

That SPLASH is still paddling along the river is another example of expectations defied.
Its future was in doubt after the death of former Princeton University professor Bart Hoebel who had restored the vessel as a floating classroom. After his passing, funds to keep SPLASH afloat dried up, and there was talk of selling the boat.

Grants and donations, as well as countless volunteer hours have kept SPLASH sailing from Lambertville on two-hour tours that focus on the biology, birds, plants entwined with the Delaware. Passengers also learn about the region’s history from the famous 1776 Christmas crossing to the Delaware’s importance in economic development.

The river offers another vital lesson, one of endurance.

Ancient rivers, of course, chiseled through mountains.

Paul Robeson sang of being weary, sick of trying, then watching the river just keep rolling along.

We wish all those involved in the HomeFront initiatives such grit. And we hope SPLASH will have many, many more years on the river.

http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2014/08/editorial_homefront_makes_a_splash_in_delaware_river_lessons.html

Kalpana Patel Photography on Exhibit at West Windsor Libray
Kalpana Patel's beautiful photographs are currently on exhibit at the West Windsor branch of the Mercer County Library during the month of July. Kalpana is generously donating all proceeds of the sale of her photographs to HomeFront! For more information, visit http://kapupatelp

Kalpana is generously donating all proceeds of the sale of her photographs to HomeFront! For more information, visit http://kapupatelp

Shop AmazonSmile and Help HomeFront
Did you know that you can now help homeless families every time you shop online at Amazon?

Just use their AmazonSmile site and they will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to HomeFront! To get started, visit https://smile.amazon.com/. For more information, go to http://smile.amazon.com/about/ref=smi_ge_ul_lm_raas

NJM Insurance Group Announces Cornerstone Gift for HomeFront's New Family Campus
NJM Insurance Group President Bernie Flynn joined NJM staff in creating a magical day for HomeFront's summer campers.

After joining the kids for lunch and their festivities, Flynn announced the company's $250,000 'cornerstone gift' for HomeFront's new Family Campus.  "Our relationship with NJM is long-standing and deep-rooted," says Connie Mercer, HomeFront executive director. "NJM is a model of corporate citizenship as they bring to bear their business acumen and resources on the community.  They are a neighbor, a partner and a friend."

Author, Vouches for Importance of Summer Camps
Regina Calcaterra, memoir author, knows about homelessness because she was homeless. In her book, Etched in Sand, she recounts the harsh conditions from which she not only survived, but grew strong and hugely successful.

Regina Calcaterra, memoir author, knows about homelessness because she was homeless. In her book, Etched in Sand, she recounts the harsh conditions from which she not only survived, but grew strong and hugely successful.

Regina writes her opinion in the Trenton Times.  Click here to read her thoughts on the importance of providing an enriching summer camp experience to homeless children.  www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2014/07/opinion_homefronts_summer_camp_provides_opportunity_for_homeless_children.html

NJTV Reports on Homeless Numbers in Mercer County
Click here to view NJTV's coverage homeless numbers in Mercer County. Chronic numbers drop due to support programs and services offered.

Click here to view NJTV's coverage homeless numbers in Mercer County.  Chronic numbers drop due to support programs and services offered.  www.youtube.com/watch

Cherry Tree Club Proudly Sends Preschoolers to Kindergarten

We have proudly graduated our rising kindergarteners and wish them success in the next chapter of school! Because of the increase in homelessness, we are lovingly serving dozens of additional kids.

Special Bar Mitzvah Project Make Big Difference
A special thank you to Jared Fraticelli who has raised $2,400 as part of his Bar Mitzvah project.

A special thank you to Jared who has raised $2,400 as part of his Bar Mitzvah project.  Jared is also hosting a special art class for HomeFront's kids as part of our summer camp program.  Below is his "Heart" Art

HomeFront’s Basketball Team Reaches Championship
Congratulations to our home team! While the team did not come home with a trophy, the outcome was still spectacular!

According to HomeFront staff who witnessed the excitement, "The game itself turned out to be an incredible show of wills and teamwork on the part of both teams. They battled for four quarters with the lead and the momentum changing hands several times. As the game neared the final buzzer, our guys actually came back from being down and managed to take a small lead. But it proved to be short-lived as the blue squad ultimately took a lead that our youngsters were unable to surmount. All in all, it was a thrilling end to an unbelievable season and a fabulous run. Despite the loss, all of our players could walk away with their heads held high on that day. Their poise, unselfish play, and 'don’t quit' spirit proved them all winners."

 

Dictionary Donation
Every year, the Hamilton Grange generously donates enough dictionaries so that children in our Family Preservation Center tutoring programs can have their very own copies.

This year, they donated over 100 dictionaries! We want to say a very warm  thank you to all the members of the Hamilton Grange--our children are as thrilled as we are!

HomeFront Has Delayed Opening Today

HomeFront will open today, Mar. 3, at 10:30 due to inclement weather.

HomeFront has Delayed OpeningToday

Due to inclement weather, HomeFront will open today, Feb. 18, at 10:30 a.m.

2-Hour Delayed Opening Wed., Feb. 5

HomeFront will open at 11:00 today, February 5.

HomeFront Closed Today

Due to the snow, HomeFront will be closed today–Monday, February 3.

Two Hour Delayed Opening Jan. 22

Due to the snow, HomeFront will open at 11 a.m. Wednesday, January 22. Check back at this site after 10 a.m. for updates.

HomeFront Closed Today

We're closed today due to inclement weather. Please be safe.

HomeFront Closed Dec. 10

We're closed today for non-critical services. All volunteers and non-essential staff, please stay home and stay safe.

ArtJam Open through Dec 1
ArtJam Extended

ArtJam News

2012-13 Annual Report Available
HomeFront's new annual report is now available. It highlights the scope of our work and list the donors who have made the work possible.

For a copy of  the FY2011-12 report, please contact Judy Long at Judyl@homefrontnj.org or download here.  The report with addendum includes all donors who have helped us help homeless families in Central New Jersey.

   Open JPG file ( 60.47KB) . . .

ArtJam Opens Nov. 14
For the fourth year in a row, artists from HomeFront’s ArtSpace program will be featured alongside national and other local artists in a pop-up art exhibit that is fast becoming a Princeton tradition.

For the fourth year in a row, artists from HomeFront’s ArtSpace program will be featured alongside national and other local artists in a pop-up art exhibit that is fast becoming a Princeton tradition. This year’s show will run from November 14 through November 24 and will be held in newly renovated space generously donated by Studio Hillier at 190 Witherspoon Street in Princeton. The exhibit will be open to the public Thursdays through Saturdays from noon to 8pm and Sundays from noon to 6pm.

 ArtSpace is a therapeutic art program that, according to HomeFront’s  Executive Director Connie Mercer, works to “lessen the immediate pain of homelessness and help families become self-sufficient and give our clients the skills and opportunities to ensure adequate incomes.” Ruthann Traylor, the Director of ArtSpace from the program’s inception, adds that the program’s “innovative approach draws on creativity and promotes socialization, self-confidence and self-expression among individuals who might have low self-esteem due to poverty, homelessness and family abuse.”

 

As well as supporting the valuable work of HomeFront’s ArtSpace program, the ArtJam exhibit showcases the remarkable art that the HomeFront artists and others from the Trenton community and beyond have produced.

 

Among the other artists participating in the show are: Jon Shedd, Cynthia Groya, Gyuri Hollosy, Silvere Boureau, Nancy Herrington, Shirley Kern,The A-Team Artists of Trenton, and many more.

 

The opening reception for ArtJam will be Friday, November 15 from 6 to 9pm. Admission is free and all are welcome. The closing reception will be Sunday, November 24 from 6 to 9pm.

 

This year our featured artists include Gyuri Hollosy, a sculptor, with his studio at Grounds for Sculprure,  who was awarded many large commissions, including Aspirations for Liberty, Boston, MA; Our Heritage, New Orleans, LA; The Family, Peoria, AZ; Cardinal Mindszenty Memorial, Cleveland, OH; and the Hungarian National Memorial in North Olmstead, OH.  Hollosy is generously giving to  the show, a bronze sculpture “Dancing Loons”, and a painting.

 

 We will see this year, again art work from Emily Lewis, now a senior at the prestigious  Parsons The New School for Design in New York, who was discovered at the 2009 ArtJam,  as a client of ArtSpace, and encouraged to apply to the top Art programs in the  country. Emily, a single mother, high school dropout, while she wasn't homeless, came to HomeFront to participate in the WorkFirst job training program for welfare recipients. She won, a full four-year scholarships at Parsons,  is a shining young artist, and pride of Art Space program. Her story has been published by Nyier Abdou, in a moving article at the Star Ledger, in 2010.

 

All the artwork exhibited will be for sale, with 50% of the proceeds benefitting the HomeFront’s mission. Visitors to the show will be benefitted 100% by the opportunity ArtJam provides to view a wide range of inventive and visionary art from renown and emerging artists. This is a show not to be missed.

 

ArtSpace Cards Available
HomeFront has launched its annual Holiday Card fundraiser.

Since 2008, the HomeFront ArtSpace therapeutic art program for homeless moms residing at the Family Preservation Center shelter in Ewing has healed battered souls, and discovered hidden talent, by creating an avenue of self-expression and empowerment through art.

“The unique perspective and history of the artists shines through in their work,” explains ArtSpace Director, Ruthann Traylor, “and that makes these notecards and holiday cards something very personal and powerful. The women who created these cards can’t believe their work is part of a product that people buy.  It helps them build the self-esteem they need to move forward.”

“HomeFront is so proud of these cards!” added HomeFront Executive Director Connie Mercer. “They are such a positive and joyful experience for everyone involved - the women who illustrate their hopes and dreams, the sender and those who receive them.  That’s what the holidays are all about.”

This year’s holiday card assortment, themed “Home for the Holidays”, come eight to a box, two of each design, and are available for a $15 donation or $25 for two boxes. Cards may also be ordered in bulk and/or personalized. To view this year’s cards visit www.homefrontnj.org/donate-artspaceart.cfm.  Cards may be purchased at HomeFront headquarters, 1880 Princeton Avenue in Lawrenceville, by calling Ms. Traylor at (609) 883-7500 or by email at ruthannt@homefrontnj.org.

All proceeds from the sale of ArtSpace notecards and holiday cards help fund the many programs for the women and children at the shelter.

Summer Reading Program Huge Success
Twenty-five children read over 670 books this summer reports Melva Moore, HomeFront's Educational Success Director.

"It was a very productive reading session this summer!  Each session featured an exciting book with visuals and student participation.  Students ranged in age from two to 11," Moore says.

Moms were encouraged to bring their younger ones. Eleven moms came and read with their children and some even read to other children. Incentives were given if at least 10 or more books were read.  The incentives included McDonald's Happy Meals, free books, small toys and tokens.

Certificates were given to all participants including the moms during the culminating Summer Reading Ice Cream Sundae Celebration.
 

A BIG thank you goes to Ms.Sue at the Ewing Mercer County Library for the partnership!
 

Desperately Needed Items!
We need food. Our food pantry shelves are empty as we are experiencing a food shortage. PLEASE HELP!

Specifically, for our Food Pantry, we need: canned meats such as tuna and chicken, cereals, pasta and pasta sauce, soups (preferably low sodium), juices (apple and grape in smail juice paks and 1/2 gallon), canned fruits and vegeatbles, shelf stable milk and breakfast bars such as nutrigrain or others.  For our Furnish the Future program we need: twin size matttresses and box springs (no rips or tears); small dinette sets/kitchen sets and small sofas/loveseats (no rips or tears). Thanks!

Get Race Results

Click here for race results!

Sponsor Miss B!
She may be the only race participant in the 90 and above category,so she's almost guaranteed a spot in the winners circle.

She's Bernice Roud, or fondly known at HomeFront as Miss B. And she's HomeFront Founder Connie Mercer's mom.   She'll be trying to hold on to her unbroken championship record (90 and above category) in HomeFront's fifth annual HomeFront Walk/Run for Hope on Sunday, June 2, 2013 at the Educational Testing Service Campus in Princeton, New Jersey.   To sponsor Ms. B in the 2013 Walk/Run for Hope, simply  click here. To register or for more information about the event, click here. For HomeFront, she's a winner regardless of her race ranking. 

This year HomeFront is expanding the event, which has always included a 5K run, a 5K walk and a 1 Mile fun run, to a Family Fun Day with entertainment, kids’ games and prizes, a VIP tent, vendors and an awards ceremony.

 

HomeFront's Warehouse to Open on Saturdays Beginning in April
HomeFront's warehouse will open to accept donations on Saturday from 9 a.m. till noon beginning in April. These new hours are in addition to the normal drop off times of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 9-5.

HomeFront's warehouse will open to accept donations on Saturday from 9 a.m. till noon beginning in April. These new hours are in addition to the normal drop off times of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 9-5.

HomeFront's warehouse manager says that we are in desperate need of: twin mattresses with box springs and frame; small dressers; two cushion sofas or loveseats; and small dinette sets with chairs.   Pick ups can be arranged by contacting the warehouse at warehouse@homefrontnj.org or call 609-989-9417 ext 127.

Poor Kids: Growing Up in Poverty
Take a few worthwhile minutes and view this gripping account of the economic crisis as seen through the eyes of children.

Poor Kids aired on FRONTLINE on November 20.  It is produced by PBS.  http://video.pbs.org/video/2306814133/

 

 

Op Ed in Trenton Times: Hurricane Sandy Created Unprecedented Demand for Homeless Assistance
By Connie Mercer November visited terrible destruction upon a huge swath of New Jersey’s population. Now that Sandy has departed, we are taking stock of the true extent of the damage.

November visited terrible destruction upon a huge swath of New Jersey’s population. Now that Sandy has departed, we are taking stock of the true extent of the damage.

November visited terrible destruction upon a huge swath of New Jersey’s population. Now that Sandy has departed, we are taking stock of the true extent of the damage. Many think of damage in terms of Shore homes destroyed, boardwalks washed away or wind and water damage in inland locations.

In Mercer County, the effects of wind and water on homes and businesses were substantial. But those were not the only effects. The impact on the near-homeless was immediate and disastrous. The folks we serve tend to be the working poor who struggle just to keep their families together and a roof over their heads. Unforeseen lost work puts them financially underwater. We are seeing unprecedented demand for HomeFront’s services as a result. And we are seeing a different sort of client come through the door: folks we haven’t seen before who work hard and plan ahead but who are out of work and don’t know when they’ll be hired back.

One such example is a hard-working man who reluctantly contacted us last week. Normally, he and his son help could each other out through a rough patch, but since the storm put both out of work, they are desperate. This man’s plea for help came accompanied by a detailed budget of expenses right down to monthly outlay for cleaning products.

By now, we have all seen the dramatic images of the destruction wrought on Shore homes by Sandy. Heart-wrenching as these losses are, there is a difference between Shore homeowners and the near-homeless folks we serve: insurance. Many of the former will be made whole or nearly so, once their claims have been settled.

That is not the case with the man I described above, who has been put out of work by the storm and is facing homelessness. He and others like him are not insured for their reversals of fortune.

Of course, it is far less expensive to act proactively and keep this man in his home rather than try to help him after he has been evicted. We will provide assistance to this gentleman and others, because our pledge at HomeFront is “Storm or no storm, no one is hungry and no one is homeless in Mercer County.” We aim to keep that pledge.

Please help.

Click here for the Trenton Times article.

 

Holiday Book Drive to Benefit HomeFront
Barnes & Noble stores across the country invite customers to give the gift of reading to children in need during its annual Holiday Book Drive, taking place from November 1, 2012 to January 1, 2013.

 Barnes & Noble stores across the country invite customers to give the gift of reading to children in need during its annual Holiday Book Drive, taking place from November 1, 2012 to January 1, 2013.–The Barnes & Noble Holiday Book Drive provides an opportunity for customers to donate books through locally designated non-profit organizations.

Holiday Book Drive recipients throughout the country include schools, libraries, literacy organizations, family social service agencies and homeless centers.  This year, the Princeton, MarketFair Barnes & Noble, located at 3535 US Rte 1 South will be collecting books for HomeFront and Every Child Valued.

“The Holiday Book Drive is one of our most popular community partnerships,” says Sarah DiFrancesco, director of community relations for Barnes & Noble.  “Our booksellers and customers get to share the pure joy of giving a book to a child in need.  And because each Barnes & Noble store chooses its local non-profit beneficiary, the donations are very personal.”

To find out how to participate in the Holiday Book Drive, contact the Barnes & Noble Acting Community Relations Manager Jennifer Murphy or Store Manager Kerrie DelGreco at 609.897.9250.

 

2011-2012 Annual Report Available
HomeFront's Annual Report honors our community of supporter, highlights the scope of our work and reports on our fiscal well-being.

For a copy of  the FY2011-12 report, please contact Judy Long at Judyl@homefrontnj.org or  download here.  The report with addendum includes all donors who have helped us help homeless families in Central New Jersey.

   Open JPG file ( 60.47KB) . . .

After Sandy, NJ's Homeless Population at Greater Risk
By Hank Kalet: NJ Spotlight....... Shelters and soup kitchens across the state sustain significant damage – The devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy as it roared through New Jersey last week was impossible to miss: multimillion-dollar homes collapsed like a house of cards, boats berthed on NJ Transit train tracks, much of the Jersey shore reduced to rubble.

Public agencies and private groups that help some of the state's most vulnerable populations are seeing an increase in patrons in the wake of the storm. They're also dealing with power outages and storm related damage of their own.

The result: More stress on an emergency relief network that was already stretched to its limits.  

Tanya R. Bryan, executive director of the NJ Coalition to End Homelessness, said she has been in contact with several agencies that work with the homeless around the state. Many were left without power and some experienced flooding, while many have not been reachable by phone or email, especially in the southern counties.

One, the Atlantic City Rescue Mission, the state's largest shelter, is just a block off the boardwalk in the seaside resort town. Bryan said she was unable to reach officials there, and calls by NJ Spotlight were not returned on Friday. 

The Shore Fellowship Church off Ocean Heights Avenue in Egg Harbor Township took in approximately 300 residents of the shelter, according to the Press of Atlantic City.

"A lot of the folks in the south we haven't heard from," Bryan said. "They have no electric, no power."

The coalition "had some funding to provide emergency shelter to folks who were homeless prior to Sandy," which they hoped would get some off the street and out of the way of the storm, but it is difficult to know how effective that was.

 

Shelter From the Storm

 

Even with the pre-storm work, it is clear that the storm is straining an already stressed network of emergency aid, she said. It is too early for an accurate accounting, but from what she is hearing there are more people in need of services than before the storm.

Flooding in Hackensack along River Street has increased the volume of people needing help, Bryan said. The Bergen County Housing, Health and Human Services Center, a shelter in Hackensack, is working with the Red Cross to help the displaced there, she said.

Agencies like Elijah's Promise Soup Kitchen in New Brunswick and Homefront, which works with families on the brink of homelessness, lost power but continued to serve those in need.

"Power [is] out at both of our facilities," Lisanne Finston, executive director of Elijah's Promise, said in an email on Friday. "Volunteers and staff cooking by candlelight, flashlight. [It's] like a MASH unit."

Connie Mercer, president of Homefront, said her agency lost power at its large center in Lawrence Township, while also taking in about 40 women from the Trenton Rescue Mission for a couple of nights at its Trenton shelter, so that the mission could accommodate everyone looking for space. 

Mary Gay Abbott-Young, chief executive officer for the Rescue Mission, said the city was concerned about sheltering people in the building’s upper floors during the storm.

“The women would come to the Rescue Mission as they normally would, and we would transfer them with a Homefront bus and two Rescue Mission vans to Homefront. Then our staff would pick them up in the morning,” she said. “It was like we did it everyday, it went so well. Had it not been for Homefront doing that, I am  not sure how we would have been able to use the space in the most efficient manner.”

The Rescue Mission still managed to put up 200 people at its Carroll Street facility, even as it lost part of the roof on its warehouse and administration building — which added a layer of complexity to the response. City and insurance company officials responded quickly and the roof was expected to be repaired this weekend. 

Mercer said a lot of the hotels and motels along the Route 1 corridor in Mercer County, where many poor families are housed by a variety of agencies, were without power. Homefront packed food for the residents, which "meant putting food bags together in the dark because we lost power. We had to do it with flashlights in the dark warehouse."

Abbott-Young said that Homefront’s efforts were typical of those made by the Mercer County agencies. The Rescue Mission, for instance, prepared enough food for those it sheltered and also for those expected to be housed at the city shelter. And the Mercer Street Friends, one of the larger food pantries in the city, offered refrigerator space.

“The coordination is what makes Mercer County so very special and allows us to accomplish many of the things we try to do,” she said

Mercer said she has not seen much of an increase in people seeking shelter since Monday's storm, she does expect a spike in the coming weeks after other resources — the generosity of family and friends — is exhausted by those who now find themselves without a place to live. 

"The folks we deal with are living on the edge," she said, "living paycheck to paycheck. These are folks who cannot sustain a week's lost paycheck never mind two or three."

 

Feeding the Hungry

 

Community Food Bank of New Jersey], in Hillside, began working with several other agencies — the New Jersey Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, the Red Cross, and the Salvation Army — before the storm to ensure distribution of food to those in need, according to a press release. The food bank is providing about 100,000 pounds of food a day to those displaced by the storm, despite losing power at its warehouse for several days.

The "unprecedented demand" has resulted in supplies of numerous staple items — canned meals, soup, vegetables, fruit, tuna, shelf-stable milk, peanut butter, cereal, granola bars, diapers, and baby food — running low.

The NJ Coalition's Bryan said many of the smaller food banks and pantries are in worse shape.

"Food banks were relying on individual donors and, at this point, a lot of the inventory may have been lost so they are suffering on a whole other level now," she said.

In Newark, Bryan said, where the largest number of homeless people reside, Mayor Corey Booker has dispatched staff to the areas where they usually congregate, like Penn Station. About 30 homeless men and women were moved to shelters at the JFK Recreation Center and Good Will.

Bryan, who served as Booker's advisor on homelessness issues prior to joining the NJ Coalition, said faith-based groups have stepped in to help, by providing meals and warm locations.

Essex and other counties also are doing an inventory of emergency shelters and transitional housing — the facilities that shelter the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless — to see how those facilities fared. They also are trying to get a more accurate sense of who was homeless before the storm and who needs the most urgent assistance.

"We want to see what the needs are and triage so we don't have more people end up on the street and we can adequately place them," she said.

"It can be difficult to tell who is who," she added. "Everyone is mingled together because everyone is displaced, so you don't have a sense of who the homeless individuals and homeless families are. If a transitional housing facility experienced flooding, the residents went to same place as those who lost their homes."

Complicating aid efforts, Bryan said, are budget cuts. Social service agencies are seeing less aid from local, state, and federal governments and "have to do more with less and now have to seek additional funding, which places an additional strain on staff to make sure they can adequately service their constituents."

Given the damage around the state, the social service agencies have their work cut out for them, she said.

"When we look at the damage in Ocean, Atlantic, and Cape May counties — these areas were destroyed and this has a huge impact on the social services agencies," she said. "In Bergen, you have towns like Moonachie, Lodi. and Carlsdadt, towns where people are relying on social services for the first time. A lot of people who have never needed social services now need them and it is placing an even greater strain on services."

NJ Spotlight is an online news service providing insight and information on issues critical to New Jersey, with the aim of informing and engaging the state’s communities and businesses. Read more From New Jersey Spotlight.

Indian Classical Music Fundraiser Concert Set for Sept. 29
On Saturday, Sept. 29 at 4:30 p.m. there will be a concert of Indian classical music featuring internationally known artists at Bridgewater Temple Auditorium, located on Route 202/206. Tickets are available online at http://www.sangamfestival.org/events.html and also can be purchased at the door for the suggested donation of $15 for adults and $10 for children.

The concert is being sponsored by Bhairav Chandrashekar, a Princeton High School student who plays the Indian mridangam drum professionally and who will be accompanying the Carnatica Brothers during the concert.   “I am doing this is to give something back to my community through my passion, playing the mridangam,” Bhariav says. “HomeFront is helping families in need and I feel that I can assist my community through this organization.” 

The two-hour concert will feature the internationally renowned Carnatica Brothers.  The pair, Shashikiran and Ganesh , who are actually cousins, are the grandsons of the legendary Gottuvadyam Narayana Iyengar.  They have received many prestigious awards for their musical accomplishments as classical Indian singers.  Their violinist, Jay Shankar Balan, is also well-known throughout the US and India.

Artspace Holiday Card Fundraiser Launches
HomeFront's ArtSpace has launched its annual Holiday Card fundraiser. All proceeds from card sales go directly to support the much needed services HomeFront provides to homelesss families.

The card designs were created in HomeFront’s therapeutic art program, ArtSpace, by women who have been touched by poverty, homelessness or abuse.

The cards come eight to a box, two of each design, and are available for a $15 donation or a $25 donation for two boxes by clicking here.  To  place an order for a box or to order in bulk, contact Ruthann at ruthannt@homefrontnj.org or at (609) 883-7500.

 

ArtJam--A Fun and Funky Art Exhibit and Sale Opens Oct. 10
ArtJam, featuring well known national and local artists will be held from October 10-22 in Princeton at 67 Palmer Square West.

The exhibit will benefit HomeFront’s ArtSpace and feature the work of 50 artists, including clients of HomeFront.  ArtSpace is an innovative program that uses art as a tool to improve the physical, mental and emotional well being of HomeFront’s clients.    According to Ruthann Traylor, ArtSpace director, “The art for this year’s show is very powerful and expressive. Their work is evocative, raw and compelling.  It’s real and from the heart.”  Both participating national and local professional artists will donate a significant portion of their sale proceeds to ArtSpace.

An opening reception for ArtJam will be held on October 12 from 6-10 p.m. The closing reception will be on October 20 from 6-10 p.m.  “We hope that our friends will drop in to see the art,” Traylor says. “It means a lot to our artists.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rebuilding Souls
ArtSpace offers clients confidence to get back on their feet DATE POSTED: Monday, July 2, 2012 10:55 AM EDT By Ilene Dube, Special Writer, Princeton Packet. Even on a gray and dreary day, the space HomeFront’s Family Preservation Center occupies — in a former dormitory of the Marie Katzenbach School for the Deaf in West Trenton — is alive with color.

Whiskey barrels painted yellow, purple, kiwi green and in polka dots overflow with fragrant flowers and herbs, and newly planted vegetables grow nearby.

Young mothers wheel babies in strollers, and a painting of a large butterfly in the vestibule greets visitors.

Once inside, the hallways are painted oranges, purples and blues, and the walls are hung chockablock with framed art in a way that would make Dr. Albert Barnes jealous.

”We want it to be a happy place,” says Ruthann Traylor, founding director of HomeFront’s ArtSpace program. One wall is filled with a community mural, worked on collectively, depicting a mother and daughter on a red bridge over a stream in a field of flowers and trees, with birds, bees and butterflies filling the sky.

Mother and daughter themes are common in the artwork here. HomeFront’s Family Preservation Center provides a holistic array of services for women and children who are homeless or at risk of becoming so. Single parents, families with histories of domestic violence, child abuse, drug abuse, welfare, and those who can’t make ends meet following the economic collapse can benefit from the program’s emergency shelter, education and job placement services to help them get back on their feet.

”ArtSpace uses art to help improve the physical, mental and emotional well being of our clients, encouraging creativity and self-expression in a safe and nurturing environment,” says Ms. Traylor. “Our goal is to rebuild the souls of people suffering from poverty, homelessness and abuse.”

Sandra, a FPC resident for the past five months, takes me to see her room — clean and organized — and a gallery for her jungle-animal paintings. Since she’s been here, she’s sold several paintings of lions and giraffes. A poem she wrote about courage that hung with the artwork at the West Windsor Arts Council in March sold as well.

A grandmother of four, Sandra, 58, says she started painting to make cartoons for her grandchildren.

”I like to mix realism and abstraction,” she says. “I used to be a pre-K teacher, and the children learn through art. It develops fine motor skills.”

She worked as a retention sales specialist at Advanta Bank Corp until 2008 when her job was outsourced.

 ”The economic situation was so bad. I used to be able to get a job easily, but couldn’t get hired.”

When her unemployment compensation ran out, she could no longer pay her bills and lost her home. After staying with friends, she came to FPC.

 ”I love powerful and strong cats, and I started by copying cats from jungle books, and it just developed,” she continues.

   Sandra plans to move to her own place soon, where “I can feel safe and secure.” A breast cancer survivor, she says the mastectomy, radiation and chemotherapy took their toll, leading to other diseases such as diabetes and heart failure. She had a pacemaker put in, but then a detached retina left her blind in one eye.

Surgery restored 40 percent of her sight, and she can paint, she says, because “my spirit is great. I wake up with a smile every day, looking forward to making art. When I’m creating, I feel happy and at peace.”

In the hallway, she created a mural of a lion.

”I wanted to leave something behind for other women to give them strength and courage to go on. Women come here with their own stories — we cry together, and uplift each other. This is a stepping stone — it will get better.”

Once she’s living on her own, Sandra says she plans to come back “for life” to help with fundraising.

Inside the door with a mosaic “ArtSpace” sign, where the walls are even brighter and the artwork hung more densely, [ast: Shannel??: ]Shanell, 28, is working on a painting of two girls sitting on a swing, a boy hiding behind a tree and a dog.

”I like to watch the History Channel and make the scenes my own,” she says. “My favorite movie is ‘The Color Purple.’ I love to paint old scenes from the 1970s and 1980s.”

The two girls on the swing were inspired by [ast: ??: ]Shannel’s relationship to her sister.

”I am not close to her but would like to be, and I can relieve the pain from that by painting my fantasies,” she says. “I like to paint people because they are beautiful — I like to paint skin colors and tones.”

In another, she painted a biracial grandparent couple on a porch swing, with biracial grandchildren peering out the window.

”I wanted to learn to paint Caucasian skin because I didn’t know how to,” says the mother of three. “I tried mixing colors, and then someone told me I can just use this paint called flesh tone.”

The biracial couple was inspired by Ms. Traylor and her husband — although Ms.Traylor teases [ast: : ]Shannel about turning her into a grandmother.

 Shannel first came to FPC in 2005, and now lives independently but returns to ArtSpace to paint and to work as an intern while she tries to find a job, hopefully in the arts and working with small children.

 Synetta, 40, paints on the other side of the table — she is [ast: ??: ]Shannel’s fiancé. She is working on “Autism Daycare Center.”

   ”My daughter has autism. She’s 15, and I have a 19-year-old in the Army,” says Synetta. The artwork continues in tattoos on her arms — one has “Hershey Kisses” and “Baby Diamond,” nicknames for her daughters, as well as a teddy bear for “Nells,” the nickname she gives to [ast: ??: ]Shannel. Her other arm is decorated for the deceased — her nephew who lost his life at 3, a cousin killed at 16, her father and her daughter’s father.

She shows me a painting of a pretty room.

”That’s how I’d want my 3-year-old stepdaughter’s room to look, if she had her own room.” Synetta, who is not in the program but accompanies [ast: ??: ]Shannel, only started painting a month ago. “It was always in there, someone had to pull it out,” says [ast: ??: ]Shannel of Synetta’s talent.

Synetta credits Shannel for pulling it out. The two women met as neighbors, taking their kids to school. “We became best friends and then you know how it goes, one thing led to another and we began dating. I had just given birth to a little girl.”

Shannel takes me to the office of Lynne Wise, director of Work First — Shannel painted Ms. Wise in her office and the painting is hanging there, beloved by Ms. Wise. “My job is to get the ladies off welfare and back in the job market,” Ms. Wise says.

According to HomeFront’s promotional materials, what HomeFront clients want more than anything is to have a job and to be self-sufficient.

”Eighty percent of them come here without a high school degree, so the first step is to get them their GED,” Ms. Wise says. “People ask me when I’m going to retire, and I tell them I love my job too much.”

On her wall is a photo of Anita Hill with a group of FPC clients, taken recently at Mercer County Community College, where Hill came to speak as a benefit for HomeFront.

Back in the ArtSpace room, where paint supplies fill plastic buckets on metal shelving, books on collage, Matisse and Basquiat serve as inspiration, and music plays.

”Ruthann says the music helps us channel energy — you can paint off the beat and knock them out fast,” says Kim.
 Kim was a resident in 2010, but now comes to help with the program while looking for a job. She was commissioned to do a series of Mona Lisa in different ethnicities. There’s one of the wall that is an English Mona Lisa, with a bit of Scottish in her. Kim also did a Cantonese and Native American Mona Lisa, and is still working on a Rastafarian Mona Lisa.

Helen, 28, who came to the United States from Guatemala when she was 17, paints quietly in a corner. With two daughters, ages 10 and 7, she lost her home in the hurricane last summer. She hasn’t done any artwork since high school, where she enjoyed graphic design but didn’t pursue it because she became a mother right away. She recently trained to become a phlebotomist and is trying to find a job. In the meantime, painting “helps me stay away from reality.”

How is Ms. Traylor able to inspire such work that evokes Gaugin, Matisse and Van Gogh from women with no prior art training?

”A big part is creating a nurturing environment that allows expression to flow,” she says. “We try not to have a lot of rules — the only rule is, don’t say ‘I can’t.’ We encourage people to try, and volunteers and other artists inspire each other. We talk about what an artist can do to improve a painting.”

Ms. Traylor, who earned a degree in art therapy at New Jersey City University, started the program in 2006.

”Starting a painting and then wanting to tear it up is similar to facing rejection — you’re at that pivotal point where you must continue, whether taking a test or getting a job. If you go further, you break through. We teach clients to learn to break barriers to building skills, problem solving and following through.”

ArtJam, an exhibit of ArtSpace artists, will be held in a popup store in Palmer Square, Princeton, Sept. 5-16. Details to be announced at www.artspacenj.org
 

Click here to read the on-line article.

Skateboarder Jake McNichol Coaches Summer Campers
Skate not Hate camp was run by Jake McNichol at Camp Good Times on July 16 - 20. First, Jake equipped the 10 campers ages 11-14 with all the information they needed to learn to skateboard.

Skate not Hate camp was run by Jake McNichol at Camp Good Times on July 16 - 20.  First, Jake equipped the 10 campers ages 11-14 with all the information they needed to learn to skateboard.  He taught them by doing fun interactive games, showing videos and practicing on decks (skateboards without wheels). 

During these two days, not only did they learn skateboarding skills, they also learned to make their own skate deck out of cardboard.  On July 18th, Jake surprised the Kids with a trip to a local skate shop where they got to look at all the cool things skaters are buying these days. The trip got even better when the shop owner gave all the campers a free skate poster. 

On the final day of Skate not Hate camp, the campers received their own new helmets, elbow pads, knee pads and skateboards--all provided by Jake! Once they got their new gear, they were off to Hopewell's skate park for  a day of practicing all that they had learned.  The 10 campers  loved every second of the experience. This fall we might see these campers at the parks practicing their new hobby. To read more about Jake click here.

Play the Odds and Help Homeless Kids Beat the Odds!
Buy a raffle ticket for $100 for a chance to win a 2013 Ford Mustang.

Buy a raffle ticket for  $100 for a chance to win a 2013 Ford Mustang. With this donation, you will be supporting HomeFront’s children’s program, Joy, Hopes and Dreams.  For each ticket, your odds are 1 in 1200.    If you win, you can drive away with a smile on your face knowing you are  not the only one who beat the odds! Drawing will be October 27.

Click here to buy a ticket.

 

Run for Hope––A Huge Success!
Thank you to all 400 plus people who came out to run and walk on a gorgeous day at the beautiful ETS campus.

The morning got off with a rock and roll beat with music by DJ Sully. Over 30 volunteers from Peddie School, Quixote Quest, Stuart Country Day School, Notre Dame High School and Princeton High School ensured the race moved flawlessly.  
Special thanks to our starter, Mercer County Freeholder, Mr. John Cimino.

Special thanks goes to our sponsors NJM, Helene Cody Foundation, Christopher O’Connell and the Sea Biscuit Running Company,  ETS, Diversified Rack & Shelving, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital of Hamilton, DJ Sully, Stark & Stark, Superior Chevrolet, Reed Smith, Security Dynamics, The Inn at Bowman’s Hill, Creative Arts & Trophies, Quakerbridge Radiology, Brophy Roofing and Construction and to our friends at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Hamilton Dental Associates and Sun National Bank!
 
And thank you to the teams who came out to participate and support HomeFront: Bank of America, Boom Goes the Dynamite, ETS, McCarter Theatre, Mr. C, NJM, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse of Princeton, Sea Biscuit Running Company, Team NRG, Women on a Mission and Your Encore Princeton.

Click here for race results.
 

Sponsor Bernice!
HomeFront’s own queen mother is racing again this year! Bernice Roud, mother of Connie Mercer, and guiding light to hundreds of other HomeFront staff, donors and friends, will be at the starting line on May 12 at ETS when the horn sounds off and hundreds of runners race in HomeFront’s Run for Hope. She will be right in the middle of the pack for the 1Mile Walk and will greet the cheering crowd as she crosses the finish line! So let’s cheer her on now by clicking here to sponsor her again this year!

 

Rentals Remain 'Out of Reach"
The results of the 2012 Out of Reach Study were recently unveiled at a special media event at HomeFront. The comprehensive report provides the housing wage and other housing affordability data for every state, metropolitan area, combined non-metropolitan area, and county in the country.

The results of the 2012 Out of Reach Study were recently unveiled at a special media event at HomeFront. The comprehensive report provides the housing wage and other housing affordability data for every state, metropolitan area, combined non-metropolitan area, and county in the country.  Compiled annually by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) on rental home affordability, it found that a New Jersey family must earn an hourly wage of $25.04 in order afford to rent in the Garden State, where more than a third of residents rent their home.  In Mercer County in particular, 63 percent of renters are unable to afford a two bedroom apartment at the Fair Market Rent (FMR).

 

 

 

 


Hoops for HomeFront
Come watch students versus parent and teachers play basketball. The BIG game is sponsored by the Lambertville Basketball Association with T-shirts donated by Dave Decoff.

Come watch students versus parent and teachers play basketball. The BIG game is sponsored by the Lambertville Basketball Association with T-shirts donated by Dave Decoff.  Tip-off is Thursday, April 26 at 6 p.m.  at The South Hunterdon High School Gym.  

Suggested donation is $5 per person.  Come cheer for your favorite team or player while supporting HomeFront and Sports Gift--an organization who donates sports equipment to kids in need. So please bring any new or used sports equipmet to the game to help other kids.

For tickets and information please contact: Michele Armstrong -609-397-3355 or email hoopsforhomefront@yahoo.com

HomeFront's Third Annual Luncheon Features Author Dr. Rameck Hunt
HomeFront’s Women’s Initiative will be hosting their Third Annual Mother’s Day Luncheon on Sunday, May 6, 2012 from 12:00-2:30pm at the Greenacres Country Club in Lawrenceville, NJ.

Pat Ciarrocchi, co-host of Talk Philly, CBS 3′s Emmy Award winning news and lifestyle program, will be Master of Ceremonies.  The highlight of the day will be special guest speaker Dr. Rameck Hunt co-author of the novel “The Pact”.

Written by Dr. Hunt and his two friends, their inspirational journey to overcome life on Newark’s streets speaks to the power of friendship and determination.  “The Pact” was recently featured in a PBS documentary, telling the story of their decisions to become doctors despite their families’ severe economic struggles.  Dr. Hunt has worked with many organizations to inspire people to dream big; “The Pact” has raised awareness in urban communities, urging youth to be active in their communities and realize their dreams.
 
“The Pact” is a story of friendship and determination.  These same characteristics inspire HomeFront’s Women’s Initiative to end homelessness in Central New Jersey. "First a family must have a safe, secure place to sleep at night, but we realize that they must be able to afford a place to live and the key to that is a job from which they can grow to be contributing members of our community.” says Connie Mercer, HomeFront founder.
 
Hosted by co-chairs Mary Dougherty and Randi Kronthal Sacco, Women’s Initiative members will come together to celebrate their accomplishments and educate potential new members. Proceeds of the luncheon benefit the Cherry Tree Club, HomeFront’s pre-school for homeless children age 2½ to 5, which is at risk of closing due to loss of funding. to register Click the icon on the left.
 

Stuff the Truck!

Help us collect food donations on March 3 and 4 at the ShopRite of Lawrenceville (Mercer Mall). We need volunteers to help advocate for HomeFront at our special table inside the store. Contact Lynn at 609-989-9417 ext 133 or at getinvolved@homefrontnj.org.

Bohrens Moves to Help HomeFront Families
As part of a planned renovation, the Nassau Inn recently donated over 50 rooms of gently used furniture to HomeFront.

Thanks to the generosity Louise Froehlich, owner of Bohrens Moving and Storage, moving the furniture went off without a hitch. Froehlich supplied both trucks and manpower which would have been difficult if not impossible for HomeFront to do with their own resources.

 “They are simply the best at moving and storage, the consummate professionals,"  Christine Lee, director of the Lawrence Community Center says. "Bohrens offered trucks and labor for two whole days, beginning on December 15.  Bohrens Moving and Storage and the Nassau Inn are making a real difference in the lives of these families. I don't know how to thank them."

 

 


From left to right are:
Nick Ballas, Director of Rooms, Nassau Inn; Frank O’Reilly, Director of Operations, Nassau Inn; Lori Rabon, General Manager, Nassau Inn; Tim O’Neal, Bohrens; Frank J. La Bianco, Bohrens; and Christine L. Lee, Director  Lawrence Community Center-HomeFront.
 

 

2010-2011 Annual Report Available
HomeFront's Annual Report honors our community of supporters and highlights the scope of our mission. Click above to read the annual report and on the attached pdf for a list of additional donors.

Tyco Helps Families Make a House a Home

Warehouse
Moving into a home is a big first step for homeless families. But it takes a couch to sit on, a table to have meals together and lamps to do homework by--all things that make a house a home. With support from Tyco, HomeFront's Resource Network serves over 3,000 families a year making each home a special place.

Skateboarder Jake McNichol Launches Fundraiser. Help A HomeFront Camper Learn to Skateboard!
Jake McNichol, founder of Skate Not Hate, is a senior straight-A student at George School in Newtown, PA. Jake, who lives in Ewing, approached HomeFront about running the camp in 2011 in hopes of providing kids living in urban areas with a fun, challenging activity they can enjoy year-round at home. He hopes skating will help kids to feel proud and to develop a positive focus despite the many challenges they face.

He has been skating since seventh grade and believes skateboarding develops creativity, fitness and perseverance.

 Jake, who lives in Ewing, approached HomeFront about running the camp in 2011 in hopes of providing kids living in urban areas with a fun, challenging activity they can enjoy year-round at home. He hopes skating will help kids feel proud and develop a positive focus despite the many challenges they face.

 In 2011, about 10 kids participated in a five-day camp. For 2012, HomeFront has asked Jake to expand the camp to 20 kids for two weeks. But he needs help!

 Jake and his family donate toward the camp and Jake solicits donations and seeks discounts from area skate shops. But more funding is needed so that each Skate Not Hate camper receives a skateboard, helmet and full set of pads to use and keep.)

 How You Can Help

Sponsor a camper: $150 will buy a complete deck, helmet and pads. Donate now! www.homefrontnj.org/Donate-skatenothate.cfm

 

 

Ewing Teen Teaches Skateboarding to Stop Gang Violence
A Ewing high school student hopes to stem the tide of gang violence in Trenton by sharing his love of skateboarding with Mercer County youngsters attending a summer camp run by HomeFront.

A Ewing high school student hopes to stem the tide of gang violence in Trenton by sharing his love of skateboarding with Mercer County youngsters attending a summer camp run by HomeFront.Jake McNichol, a straight-A student at George School in Bucks Co. PA, volunteered his time to teach 10 youngsters ages 8-12 the basics of skateboarding. The skatecamp, ran August 3-12,  at the Princeton YMCA with skating at the Hopewell Township skatepark.

Jake, 17, was inspired by a documentary film about the origins of hip-hop as an alternative to violence among urban youth. When gang members got in a fight, instead of hurting each other, they would have a dance-off to resolve their disputes, Jake said. He believes a game of S-K-A-T-E (skaters challenging each other to land a trick, earning a letter for each trick missed) can be another alternative.

 “I feel like skateboarding could have the same effect for kids who are surrounded by gang violence,” Jake said. “Skateboarding is healthy and it relieves stress. It also teaches people to persevere and work hard.”

 Skateboarding also is a perfect sport for urban neighborhoods. “As long as they have access to some pavement, they will be able to have fun and make friends,” Jake said. “ I'm not saying skateboarding can solve all the problems kids have, but it could give them a fun and accessible alternative to gangs.”

Jake approached HomeFront, with the idea in the spring and has spent weeks soliciting donations from individuals and area skate shops. Thanks to the generosity of Reign Skate in Langhorne, PA., each camper will receive a skateboard, helmet and a full set of pads.

Reign Skate is owned by professional skater Chris Cole.

videos.nj.com/times/2011/08/ewings_jake_mcnichol_teaches_s.html

 

Grounds for Sculpture Hosts HomeFront Client Art Exhibit Aug. 21-Sept. 25
The vital and dynamic human spirit of homeless and working poor families is unleashed into astounding and emotional artistic expression in the upcoming month long educational exhibit, “HomeFront: Putting the Pieces Together.” The artists are HomeFront clients.

This strikingly poignant show illustrates an irrepressible spirit from poverty stricken women and men who find refuge and guidance at HomeFront as they maneuver through hardships putting the pieces of their life together.  According to Ruthann Traylor, director of HomeFront’s ArtSpace therapeutic art program, “They share their poetry, painting and 3-dimensional pieces allowing viewers a glimpse of their world—a world that few of us recognize.”

The exhibit depicts a metaphorical path to poverty filled with facts and figures lifted from today’s headlines.  Viewers follow the path from poverty and helplessness through to opportunities for a better life.

“We hope this exhibit will bridge a gap,” says Connie Mercer, HomeFront Executive Director. “The gap is in the connection within our community between neighbors—those who have a home and those who do not.  I firmly believe that working together, we can help break the cycle of poverty. But just as with families we work with day in and day out, we can’t do it alone.”

For more information, contact HomeFront’s ArtSpace, 609-883-7500. An opening reception will be held Sunday August 21 from 1-3 p.m. The public is cordially invited.

              

                                            Flightless

I feel flightless, a bird with flawed wings.

Those useless things.

They shine in the light, but are only for show.

Rooted to the ground.

While the sun shines down, 

taunting me, for I cannot go.

I feel flightless, unable to rise,

unable to brush up against blue skies, 

and let my victory cry sound.

So I dream, I dream until the day...

The fingers of the wind come to shisk me away, 

and no longer will I be bound.

                               By Sylena Tanner

 

Back to School Campaign Kicks Off
HomeFront’s Back-to-School campaign that started 20 years ago, ensures that homeless children in Mercer County start school off on the right foot. Homeless kids have so many stigmas and obstacles to overcome. They need as much support as possible–especially on the all important first day of school. Thanks to a community-wide effort, kids have new tennis shoes, clothes, school supplies and backpacks to begin the school year.

 It’s critical to start the children off on the right foot on the first day of school so they look and feel like all the other kids.   The backpacks are just one element in an on-going support program that helps families pay for basic school items such as class pictures, field trips or school uniforms.  “For our families, these items are luxury items,” says Connie Mercer, HomeFront executive director.

In addition to providing money for the basic items, HomeFront also helps students academically through organized after school tutoring, enrichment and recreational program.

 “Support in donating backpacks filled with first day necessities is tremendous,” acknowledges Mercer. “Our children are very excited and the moms are so appreciative.”

HomeFront depends on individual donations to help underwrite this program.  If you would like to make a homeless children start and finish the school year with self-esteem and dignity,  click read more below or contact: Candace at 609-989-9417, ext. 138 or email us at homefront@homefrontnj.org/

A Summer Hunger Message from Sunny,Our Director of Program Support Services

Summer is a tough time for families who come to our food pantry. Families must adjust their grocery needs to ensure that children who are on summer vacation get breakfast and lunches which ordinarily would be provided by the school.

One Room at a Time—Helping One Family at a Time
Home decorator and Princeton resident Anne Battles does more than ‘re-do’ rooms. She’s doing makeovers for HomeFront residents in one our multi-unit buildings. Her first challenge is the home of a mother with two teenage kids.

 Work needs to be done on the bedrooms, kitchen, living room and on the floors throughout.

“There is a small table in the living room where the family has been eating, but it’s hard since it also has the computer on it,” Ms. Battle says. One of her colleagues will build a counter in the kitchen where they can have the computer and where the kids can also do homework.  Then they can eat together as a family at the other table.

This is just the beginning for Ms. Battles as she will tackle the other five units in the building.  Her estimated cost per unit—between $10-15,000.   “Raising money is big task,” she explains.  She welcomes donations of sinks, stoves, etc, and of course pro bono work from contractors.  But most importantly are cash donations. 

If you’d like donate, click here or contact Ms. Battles at 609-925-2867

Run For Hope Race Results In
The third annual HomeFront Run for Hope was a huge success. The sunny skies enticed over 450 people to come out to support the event and help local families in need. Click here to see the race results. Like us on Facebook and check out the race photos.

"It was nice to see so many familiar faces and so many new ones," says HomeFront Race Coordinator Alicia Portalatin.  "HomeFront is grateful to everyone who participated and volunteered for the May 7 run/walk."
HomeFront expresses special appreciation to race sponsors NRG, The Helene Cody Foundation, The Bank of Princeton, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, Future Signs, Creative Arts, and especially NJM for making this event possible and for changing lives in this community.

Like us on Facebook and check out the photos for the race!

Women's Initiative Brings Homeless to Harvard's Liz Murray to Speak May 15
Murray will be the guest speaker at HomeFront’s Women’s Initiative luncheon on Sunday, May 15 at the Nassau Inn in Princeton.

Murray will be the guest speaker at HomeFront’s Women’s Initiative luncheon on Sunday, May 15 at the Nassau Inn in Princeton. Her story is both heartbreaking and uplifting. Living on her own on the streets of the Bronx she supported both herself and her sister, and managed to attend Humanities Preparatory Academy in Manhattan. After graduating she went to Harvard on scholarship, from which she also graduated. Her mission now is to use her past to help others build a future. 

 

The public is cordially invited to hear Liz Murray speak about her inspiring and remarkable journey. Reservations are required. A donation of $25 will also cover the cost of a light lunch.  To register on line, click the icon on the left of the homepage. For information, contact: womensinitiative@homefrontnj.org, or call 609-989-9417 ext. 150.

 

Clients Speak OutMeet Rachel
How can homelessness happen? And who are the homeless in Mercer County? Following is the first of a series of interviews with Home Front clients who explain how they became homeless. These are real stories from real people.

How can homelessness happen? And who are the homeless in Mercer County? Following is the first of a series of interviews with Home Front clients who explain how they became homeless. These are real stories from real people. Their lives have been shattered by a convergence of circumstances. They have lost the security of a home. They have lost their dignity within a community and their confidence of a brighter future has been destroyed.  They are the reason Home Front exists.

URGENT NEED

HomeFront has an urgent need for dressers, small couches and kitchen tables. These are all important items that make a home home. Please help! Go to Get Involved, and click on 'Go Green.'

Powerful and Sad Numbers
The 2010 Census revealed the grim economic story for Trenton households headed by single females with young children who fall below the federal poverty limit. The number of these households with children under the age of 5 (the majority of families we see) grew from 1,011 households in poverty in 2000 to 6,859 families in 2010, or from 41% to 68.7% .



60 Minutes––Hard Times Generation: Homeless Kids
Last week 60 Minutes aired a segment that spoke eloquently, and heartbreakingly, about the pain homelessness inflicts on children. While these children live in Florida, not too long ago these same stories played out right here in Mercer County.

Last week 60 Minutes aired a segment that spoke eloquently, and heartbreakingly, about the pain homelessness inflicts on children. While these children live in Florida, not too long ago these same stories played out right here in Mercer County.  It took a long time, but HomeFront fixed the problem.  Families were moved out of the motels and into dignified housing.  Now, a worst horror is that the current economic crisis threatens to bring back a past that was so carefully and diligently erased.

Please take a few moments to view this video. It is powerful and moving.  
http://monarchhousing.org/2011/03/07/the-hard-times-generation/

Something to Smile About
For the last two years, the staff of the Princeton Center for Dental Aesthetics have taken a day to give back to our community by putting a bright healthy smile on the faces of local homeless children living at the HomeFront Family Preservation Center in Ewing.

On Saturday, February 26, the kids were treated to a free dental exam, cleaning and oral hygiene class. Kids with cavities will come back for cleanings.

 

 

Looking for A Few Good Camp Counselors
If you need a summer job, and you’d like to have the experience of a lifetime, HomeFront may have the solution for you.

We're looking for a few qualified, experienced, dedicated camp counselors to help with our summer Camp Good Times which serves homeless children ages 5-13 in Mercer County.

You will become part of a great organization that is committed to changing children’s lives. You will help give kids an opportunity for a wonderful summer of fun and excitement in a safe environment. You must be 18 and have a high school diploma.

Send a letter of interest by April 27 if you would like to join our team this summer for 10 weeks—mid June through August.  Send the letter to: Martin Hayes, HomeFront, 1880 Princeton Avenue, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648. Or email, MartinH@homefrontnj.org.    

ArtSpace to Exhibit at Twist Yogurt During March
Throughout March 2011, ArtSpace will be exhibiting works by 5 young artists from their program at Twist Yogurt at 84 Nassau St. in Princeton.

ArtSpace seeks to enhance the physical, mental and emotional well-being of our clients so that they may focus on becoming self-sufficient.  “ArtSpace is a colorful, safe, and nurturing environment – something our clients are not used to having in their lives,” says Ruthann Traylor, ArtSpace director. “The ArtSpace program motivates.  It adds color to their lives, allowing clients to creatively express themselves in a way that they may have never been encouraged to do. Most importantly, this process is therapeutic as it enhances their self-confidence and self-esteem.”

“The art represents the faces, images and voices of people who have been invisible for most of their lives,” Traylor adds.  “And, frankly, people attending our exhibits are astounded by the talent and creativity represented by the art.”  ArtSpace artists have gone on to study art in higher education and some make a living by selling their paintings.

For more information on purchasing or exhibiting the art, please contact Ruthann Traylor at ruthannt@homefrontnj.org

Free Eye Clinic for Needy Families

 As part of HomeFront's commitment to Mercer County and the New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired, a free eye check up and clinic are offered to those who cannot afford an eye exam or who either don't have health insurance or are under-insured.  The clinic will be in Lawrenceville  at the Lawrence Community Center, 295 Eggerts Crossing Road on March 10 from 1 to 5 p.m. and at HomeFront, 1880 Princeton Avenue on April 19 from 1 to 5 p.m.  Referrals fro eyeglasses and follow up care are included with the visit.

Poker Tournament and Casino Night Slated for Feb. 25
The annual Poker Tournament and Casino Night to benefit HomeFront families will be held from 8 p.m. until midnight on February 25, 2011 at the Hamilton Manor at 30 Route 156 in Hamilton, NJ.

This year, in addition to the poker tournament, there will be tables for blackjack, craps, roulette, money wheel and bingo. There will be a silent and fisherman's auctions, raffles, appetizers and a cash bar.


“It’s going to be a magical evening full of surprises,” Alicia Portalatin, the event organizer says. “The proceeds go to fund the host of services HomeFront provides for homeless and vulnerable families in Central New Jersey. This past year, HomeFront helped thousands of families and children with shelter, food and emergency assistance, and educational opportunities. Next year, the way things look, all these numbers will increase. This event is an opportunity to have a good time and serve a good cause.”
 
Entry fee and participation in the casino games is $60 and the poker tournament package is $70. General admission without playing is $50. For further information or to register for the event, go to the HomeFront website at www.homefrontnj.org <
http://www.homefrontnj.org/>   or call Alicia Portalatin at (609) 989-9417 extension 133 .
 
The Poker Tournament and Casino Night is sponsored by Bracco Diagnostics, Bloomberg, Stark & Stark, The Mercadien Group, Carnevale Disposal, iMarketing, The Credit Union of New Jersey, The Lawrence Shopping Center, Quadis Voice & Data Solutions and J. H. Cohn LLP. 

Back Dock Alert from Furnish the Future!

We are preparing Santa’s Warehouse and will not be accepting furniture and household donations at the dock on December 20 – 27. We will resume accepting donations on December 28th at noon.

Over 700 families send Tyco a special thank you!
A very special thank you is in order for Tyco’s support of HomeFront’s Furnish the Future Program.

 Their support has made it possible for over 700 families to move in a home with furniture, household goods and appliances of their own.  “These families can now fully experience the joy and dignity of living in a home of their own,” says Connie Mercer, HomeFront executive director.

HomeFront's Annual Christmas Wishes Drive Kicks Off
As holiday lights begin to brighten city streets, and retailers’ windows beckon shoppers, children anticipate the season with a wish list all their own.

But for the thousands of local children whose wishes have little chance of coming true, the holidays can be a stressful time for parents who can barely make ends meet.  For the last 20 years, HomeFront, the Central New Jersey agency serving homeless families, has made sure that wishes do come true for local children whose parents can’t afford the luxury of presents during the holidays. Once again, the Christmas Wishes Drive is underway.

HomeFront is seeking volunteers from the community to join the drive. Each family creates a wish list of presents for their children and submits it to HomeFront. Anyone interested in helping to grant a child’s Christmas wish, contact HomeFront at homefront@homefrontnj.org  to sign up to provide gifts for individual children. The gifts total less than $40 for each child. HomeFront provides the wish lists for each child by December 1.

The volunteers purchase and deliver the gifts to HomeFront at 1880 Princeton Avenue in Lawrenceville between December 13 and December 17 The gifts will be delivered to the families in time for Christmas morning.

 

Hector Gallery Opens Turndorf Ostrich Egg Exhibit
Don Hector, Hector Gallery owner, announces the opening of a new permanent exhibit of dyed ostrich eggs by Jill Turndorf on Sunday, December 5th from 3 to 6 p.m.

One-half of all proceeds from the sale of the eggs will benefit HomeFront, a non-profit organization which provides food, housing, education and other services to homeless families in our area.


 “Turndorf’s work compliments my own stained glass here in the gallery,” says Hector, stain glass artist and gallery owner. “They look beautiful side-by-side.” 

Turndorf creates colorful, highly decorated, intricately detailed ostrich eggs with a wax-resist method and dye. This process is also known as Pysanky. “My designs are inspired by cultures from around the world and from various time periods,” Turndorf explains.


Hector works in a range of styles that encompass all periods from the Medieval to “It is an honor to be showing my work in the same space as Don’s stunning stained glass windows,” Turndorf says. “Don is such an accomplished artist and is very generous to provide space in his gallery at no cost.  We are both delighted to be able to do this for HomeFront.”

Hector Gallery is located at 16 Race Street in Frenchtown, NJ. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m. 

HomeFront Feeds Over 6,000
HomeFront extends a warm thank you to the overwhelming generosity of the community in making Thanksgiving truly special for local need famiies.

Hundreds of individual volunteers and volunteers from businesses and congregations collected and delivered the makings for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner to over 6,000 needy parents and children in our community.  This amazing effort made it possible for these families to celebrate the holiday around their own table in their own home.


HomeFront thanks our neighbors and friends who gave time, money and food to help once again give real meaning to this holiday.

Losing for Good
Four local Mercer County Weight Watchers groups joined the fight against two global epidemics – hunger and obesity – by participating in the Third Annual Lose for Good campaign. As the members lost weight, they also collected food to donate to HomeFront to help their neighbors in need.

As the members lost weight, they also collected food to donate to HomeFront to help their neighbors in need.  Within seven weeks, these four Weight Watchers groups led by Barb Ulrich Health and Wellness Center in Robbinsville, lost a total of 1071 pounds, and collected 3,384 pounds of food for those in need.

“My members were so excited to have a chance to help others while helping themselves by losing weight and donating food during the Lose for Good campaign,” said Weight Watchers Leader, Barbara Ulrich.  “Many of my members brought in food donations equivalent to their weight loss, some totaling over 100 pounds.  One member got sponsors to donate as she lost weight during the 7 weeks and donated over 700 pounds of food! Every donation was important and these groups really opened their hearts for this important cause.”

In the United States, most recent data shows 17.1 million homes lack the resources and access to enough food for a healthy life (Source: FRAC 2010).  At the same time, the United States has the highest obesity rate in the world with 73 million people (27 percent) being classified as obese (Source: CDC).

Caption: Proud leader Barbara Ulrich poses with members who each lost 100 or more pounds on Weight Watchers and donated their weight loss in pounds of food to HomeFront.  From left, Nick Giambrone, Mary Atkinson, Leader, Barb Ulrich, Kristin Longmuir, Maria Santoro, and Bob Roth.

HomeFront 2010 Annual Report Now Available
HomeFront's Annual Report pays tribute to the community that has made HomeFront the organization it is today. Click here to read the annual report.

HomeFront's Annual Report pays tribute to the community that has made HomeFront the organization it is today.  The report chronicles 20 years of helping homeless families find their way to self-sufficiency. Click here to read the annual report and then on the attached pdf for a list of additional donors.

HomeFront Annual Report 2010

Additional Donors - 2010

HomeFront's 2010 Annual Report Available
The report chronicles 20 years of helping homeless families find their way to self-sufficiency. Click here to read the annual report and then on the attached pdf for a list of additional donors.

HomeFront's Annual Report pays tribute to the community that has made HomeFront the organization it is today.  The report chronicles 20 years of helping homeless families find their way to self-sufficiency. Click here to read the annual report and then on the attached pdf for a list of additional donors.

HomeFront Annual Report 2010

Additional Donors - 2010

 

 

   Open JPG file ( 60.47KB) . . .

Share, Shop, Give
HomeFront's Women's Initiative will be hosting its new annual Share, Shop, Give event on Thursday, December 2 from 7 p.m. -10:30 p.m. at Greenacres Country Club at 2170 Lawrenceville Rd in Lawrenceville.

"Share, Shop, Give” will be an opportunity for women to network, holiday shop and enjoy an evening out, ” Lisa Smukler, Women’s Initiative member from Princeton says. “Approximately 12 vendors representing great ideas for holiday gifts will be set up and open for business.  We have designer clothing from Nicole Miller, wine bags, jewelry and other fun gifts.  We also have a hair stylist from Great Looks 4 Less and, for fun, a tarot card reader.  Want to cash in on your gold earrings or bracelet that you never wear anymore?  Then check out it’s cash value at Gold Gives Back who will appraise your gold and will purchase unwanted items on the spot.”

 “Our goal is to support HomeFront and the wonderful work they do in our community,” says Amy Vogel, West Windsor Women’s Initiative member and one of the event organizers. “We also want to encourage anyone who may not know about HomeFront to come and learn more about the organization.  It is a great organization which has a proven track record of providing a comprehensive network of services for the poor and homeless in Mercer County.

Part of the proceeds from all purchases go to support HomeFront.  Appetizers and cocktails will be available at the event.  For further information, contact Heather Lyon at womensinitiative@homefrontnj.org if you would like to participate or to get more information.

 

Thanksgiving Drive Kicks Off
Last Thanksgiving, over 6,000 needy parents and children experienced the joy of a turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Best of all, they were able to do this at home–together as a family–and that is because of the extraordinary volunteer effort.

Last Thanksgiving, over 6,000 needy parents and children experienced the joy of a turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Best of all, they were able to do this at home–together as a family–and that is because of the extraordinary volunteer effort. 

Once again, we ask for your help to make this wonderful family occasion happen by preparing baskets and delivering them to HomeFront for distribution in time for Thanksgiving Day.  Click here to learn how you can help.

Click here for details

Generations, A Fine Art Exhibit to Benefit HomeFront Families Slated for 9/24-10/10
A fine art exhibit, Generations, featuring the works of Jill Sacalis Turndorf, John Sacalis, Joy Sacalis and Ben Turndorf will be held September 24 through October 10 in Palmer Square. One-half of all of the proceeds from the show will go to benefit HomeFront to provide food, housing, education and other services to homeless families.

  “The show will be a blend of dimension, beauty, realism and abstraction,” explains Jill Turndorf, (www.turndorf.com) stone sculptor and designer of fine Pysanky Eggs. Turndorf held her successful debut exhibit in 2007 in Princeton at which proceeds also went to HomeFront to help homeless families get back on their feet. 

Jack, Joy and Jill
Since then Turndorf has chiseled and dyed passionately and tirelessly to where she has over 50 pieces which will be available to view and purchase.  “This show represents the legacy of three generations of an artistic family with a commitment to helping others,” says Connie Mercer, executive director of HomeFront. 

The three generations start with John Sacalis, http://www.sacalis.com/  noted watercolorist and Jill’s father; Jill, stone sculptor and Pysanky egg artist; Joy Sacalis, painter and Jill’s sister; and Ben Turndorf, photographer and Jill’s son.  Each artist will have numerous works on display and will be on-site to discuss their work and their inspiration.

Jill discovered her passion for stone as a medium when she studied stone sculpture about 8 years ago. “It came to me naturally,” she says. “I just knew that it was my medium from the very first.” She also finds working with finely decorated Pysanky ostrich eggs a way of relaxing from her more strenuous stonework. Her work is a mixture of realism and abstraction.

Her father, John Sacalis, is an award-winning painter of watercolor landscapes in rural sites in New Jersey and Europe. Professor emeritus of plant science at Cook College, he began his artistic career in 1996.

Joy Sacalis, will exhibit abstract, expressionist and illustrative paintings in acrylic and oil. Trained as a landscape architect, she has illustrated for magazines, painted murals and created eye-catching store window displays.

This is Ben Turndorf’s first show. A senior at Columbia University, he will be exhibiting photography in black and white and color. 


For more information, click on the pdf files attached:

homefrontnj.org/docs/JohnSacalisCatalogofArtPDF.pdf

homefrontnj.org/docs/JillTurndorfCatalogofArtPDF.pdf

homefrontnj.org/docs/JoySacalisCatalogofArtPDF.pdf

homefrontnj.org/docs/BenTurndorfCatalogofArtPDF.pdf

homefrontnj.org/docs/GENERATIONS-art-poster-v4.pdf

 

A Food Crisis is About to Happen
Over 700 local families come to the HomeFront pantry for a bag of food each month. Their hunger is wrenching and real. Please help....

Over 700 local families come to the HomeFront pantry for a bag of food each month. Their hunger is wrenching and real – the kind of hunger where a handful of crackers is the main meal of the day.  The number of hungry children, 60% of those we feed, always swells in the summer because there are no school breakfasts and lunches to offset the empty cupboards at home and many caring donors are on vacation. Click here to learn what you can do.

Three HomeFront Welcome Mats on Doorsteps in Hopewell Township
Community Effort Makes It Happen! HomeFront TCL has opened the doors to three units of high-quality affordable housing and they are going about it in a way that they do best: through community involvement and support.

They have renovated two dilapidated and abandoned buildings at 449 Scotch Road.  These three doors are now open to HomeFront families in a prime location in Hopewell Township.

 

“The project was a challenge and took a few miracles to complete," explains Celia Bernstein, HomeFront's director of operations and chief financial officer, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony on steamy hot July 8. HomeFront now offers 72 units of affordable housing.

 

 

When Hopewell bought a tract of land of about 32 acres with the two houses on it, they searched for a nonprofit organization that could use the structures. "HomeFront came in and gave us a presentation, and we said go ahead," says Anne Moore, the township's municipal housing liaison. The township partnered with HomeFront and helped fund the redevelopment of the two buildings. The Mercer County Housing and Community Development Office also provided funds through the "HOME Investment Partnership Program, a federal program that provides money to rehabilitate housing for low-income residents.

 

Bernstein also notes a special appreciation to Merrill Lynch and their team of volunteers who landscaped the property and to Brickman Group landscaping for plant donations and landscape services.

 

 

The Star Ledger

"...[V]ibrant art studio" at HomeFront helps in "rebuilding souls". (See story)

 

HomeFront Rehabs Houses in Hopewell Township The Times, July 8, 2010
HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP - Two years ago, the two buildings at 449 Scotch Road sat dilapidated and abandoned. Now, with the help of HomeFront, Hopewell Township and Mercer County, they are set to house three low-income families.

"It was quite an adventure. This project was not good-looking when we got here," Celia Bernstein, HomeFront's director of operations and chief financial officer, said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday. "It took quite some miracles to get it looking the way it does now."

HomeFront is a nonprofit agency that seeks to provide services for the poor and homeless in Mercer County. The organization now offers 72 units of affordable housing.

"So much of the so-called "affordable housing' in the state of New Jersey has been for people making $80,000 or $90,000 a year," said Connie Mercer, HomeFront's president and chief executive officer. "Our housing is for the folks who work at daycare centers, in the nursing homes, in food service, who deserve a quality roof over their heads."

The process for this renovation project began with Hopewell buying a tract of land of about 32 acres with the two houses on it. The township then began to search for a nonprofit organization that was interested in using the structures.

"HomeFront came in and gave us a presentation, and we said go ahead," said Anne Moore, the township's municipal housing liaison.

The township partnered with HomeFront and helped to fund the redevelopment of the two buildings so that three families could move in. The Mercer County Housing and Community Development Office also provided funds through the HOME Investment Partnership Program, a federal program that provides money to rehabilitate housing for low-income residents.

For Martha Lamar, who chairs the board of HomeFront TLC Inc., the organization's development wing, just getting all the funding together was a big success. "It's normally very difficult," she said. "Most of the state programs have been cut or reduced."

HomeFront's job was made easier when Merrill Lynch, which has a campus across the street from the site, agreed to take on responsibility for the property's landscaping. "They're good neighbors," said Bernstein.

The company coordinated plant donations from Brickman Group landscaping, and employees volunteered to dig up flower beds to plant new flowers, bushes and trees.

"We had a team of 15 volunteers come out here in May," said Merrill Lynch analyst Carli Pae. "To see everything done at the end is just great."

The three families who will get to move in will be selected by Aug. 1. Bernstein stressed that those chosen will truly have a need for the housing. "We restrict ourselves to low-income, working families," she said. "That's what makes us different."

At the ceremony, those who pitched in enjoyed food and drinks while they toured the renovated houses. The different groups mingled as they admired their handiwork.

"The real story," said Mercer, "Is how the community has come together."

URGENT NEED!

Children's and ladies' swimsuits--all sizes! Help us make the summer truly special for our families.

In Support of Nutrition Programs The Times Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Turner joins nonprofit leaders to abolish funding cuts

 LAWRENCE - State Sen. Shirley Turner (D-15th) joined local nonprofit leaders for a press conference yesterday at the charity HomeFront, calling for the abolition of proposed state funding cuts for child nutrition programs.

"I come here today very, very discouraged," said Turner when discussing the proposed cuts.

 According to a joint press release from the New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition, HomeFront and the Mercer Street Friends Food Bank, Gov. Christie's budget proposal includes cutting $3 million in state funding for school breakfast programs and $2.5 million for school lunch assistance.

Some schools might decide to scrap breakfast programs considered vital to keep children well fed and attentive in school, said Adele Latourette, director of the New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition, who also spoke at the conference. "We have to pay attention to this."

When asked about a source of funding to restore the support, Turner suggested implementing a millionaire's tax -- in reference to Christie's veto last month of a Democratic-led plan to impose an income tax surcharge on the wealthiest people in New Jersey.

"I think it's only fair that those who are making the most should sacrifice the most, and those who are making the least sacrifice the least," she said.

Latourette explained that federal funding for school breakfast and lunch programs is actually being increased by the Obama administration, while the opposite is being proposed at the state level.

The state currently funds a portion of free or reduced-cost lunch programs for families who qualify, as well as enhancements to school breakfast programs, which allows for better-quality meals to be offered to students each morning.

According to Latourette, the cuts could also result in a price increase for students whose families do not qualify for nutrition programs, an estimated 75 cents per lunch.

"This is not an insignificant increase to families all across the state," she said.

Patricia Wendell, principal at Slackwood Elementary School, Lawrence, said children have trouble learning on an empty stomach. With a nutritious breakfast and lunch, she explained, students perform better in school.

 "Then, they are ready to learn," she said. "It's as simple as that."

Wendell has seen more students at her school requiring free or reduced-cost lunches in the past year.

 Also present was Tonya Hunter, a parent whose four children are able to receive assistance through breakfast and lunch programs

"A lot of children don't have the money to pay; their parents can't pay for it," she said. Hunter is a bus driver, but she feels so strongly that these cuts should be reversed that she took the day off to speak during the press conference.

"Right now, I'm struggling," she said. "(The funding) helps me a lot. It helps a lot of people you don't think need it."

 In November, Trenton public schools joined Newark and Camden in beginning a universal school breakfast program, which provides a meal each morning to all students, regardless of their families' economic status. According to Latourette, this trend is indicative of a nationwide push for such programs in urban environments. 

"This is going to put a damper on the progress we have already made," said Trenton Superintendent Rodney Lofton, reflecting on the size of the current program throughout the district. According to the release, Trenton schools could lose $50,000 in funding.

"I'm just hoping and praying that this governor and this Legislature learn what we know, that a child is entitled to nutritious meals (every) day," Turner said.

David Karas / Special to The Times

http://www.nj.com/mercer/index.ssf/2010/06/in_support_of_nutrition_progra.html

Help HomeFront Win $25,000!!!
HomeFront been selected as one of the finalists in Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Innovation Awards. You and other friends and supporters can help us win $25000 to fund our programs to ensure that children of homeless families have adequate, nutritious meals and live healthy, active lives. All you have to do, starting on Friday, June 11, is visit the following link and vote for us!

You can vote once a day. Come back and vote again every day until June 20.

http://www.strength.org/votetoday <http://www.strength.org/votetoday>

Please ask your family and friends to join you in voting for us.

We will be posting daily reminders on our Facebook fan page <
http://www.facebook.com/homefrontnj> . Join us there and tell us how it is going--and remember to ask your Facebook friends to join us.

Share Our Strength, a national nonprofit, is working to end childhood hunger in America. They created these awards to honor innovative organizations across the country that are overcoming barriers and connecting hungry kids with food.

HomeFront Basketball Team Wins Over J. O. Nelson Team
The spring season may be winding down, but spirits were on the upswing as the home team netted another win with an outstanding performance by point guard Andrew Powell. Click here for details

A Favorite Clown Visits HomeFront
Ronald McDonald House Charities awarded us a grant for a new bus for the Cherry Tree Club. The big clown himself came last Monday for a photo op with the bus. Ronald then stayed and put on a show for the kids from Cherry Tree Club and other children who were at the Family Preservation Center.

 

The Run is On (Rain or Shine)

Almost 400 people have signed up for the Run for Hope Run/Walk tomorrow (Saturday, May 8) morning. The run will go forward rain or shine. We hope to see you all there for a wonderful time. You may sign up at the event for $25. For more details, go to http://www.homefrontnj.org/5KWalkRun-2009.cfm.

Dental Day at HomeFront
On Saturday, April 10, the staff of the Princeton Center for Dental Aesthetics opened their office to 20 children of HomeFront families for check-ups, teeth cleaning, fluoride treatments and individual dental hygiene classes.

Our thanks go out to these dedicated professionals whose hearts are as big as the kids’ bright smiles!

John and Aileen Crowley to Speak at Women's Initiative Breakfast May 7
The HomeFront Women's Initiative invites all members to join us at our celebration breakfast on May 7 at Greenacres Country Club. Breakfast begins at 9:30 a.m.

 Our special guest speakers are John and Aileen Crowley whose inspirational story is told in the movie, Extraordinary Measures, starring Harrison Ford.  Their talk, entitled, Taking the Initiative for Change, will begin at 10:30.  To attend, please sign up by calling Ruthann Traylor at 609-883-7500 or email her at ruthannt@homefrontnj.org.  Members are welcomed to bring a friend.  A donation of $22 is suggested to cover the cost of breakfast.

Princeton University to Host ArtSpace Exhibit
The Bernstein Gallery at Princeton University will host an art exhibit featuring artists from HomeFront’s ArtSpace April 10 through June 25. The exhibit, entitled How You See Me, is an innovative, compelling exhibit of HomeFront client works about how others see them and how they see themselves.

 “The art and poetry explores the societal implications of stereotyping homeless people,” explains Ruth Ann Traylor, HomeFront ArtSpace Director who worked with clients over a two-year period in creating over 50 works on display.

 According to recent research, people tend to stereotype groups along two main dimensions – warmth and competence. Most groups are judged as warm and incompetent or competent and cold, eliciting ambivalent prejudices. Only economically disadvantaged groups – homeless people, welfare recipients, and poor people—consistently fall in the incompetent-cold category. This stereotype leads to the worst kind of prejudice—disgust, contempt, and even dehumanization—because these groups are viewed as responsible for their misfortune. This research was conducted by Dr. Amy Cuddy, Harvard University, Boston; Dr. Susan Fiske, Princeton University, Princeton; and Dr. Peter Glick, Lawrence University, Appleton, WI.

Ms. Traylor summarized the research to HomeFront clients participating in ArtSpace.  In response, the clients created art describing how they think that others see them, how they feel about it, how they see themselves and how they can change these images. The works on display at the exhibit, a mixture of pain, anger, guilt, beauty, hope and resolution, are the results of this two-year process. The exhibit will also feature a panel discussion with Dr. Cuddy on April 26 from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. with a reception immediately following.


FPC Celebrates its 7th Birthday!
On Wednesday, Mar. 3, our HomeFront community celebrated the seventh anniversary of the Family Preservation Center in West Trenton. For seven years, the FPC has given food, shelter and support to help over 1000 families break the cycle of poverty. At the same time, they honored the service of Thora Faigle, the director of the FPC and marked her retirement. Click to WBZN story.

Speakers from the event included former residents of the shelter, FPC staff and representatives of affiliated HomeFront programs, including HomeFront Executive Director Connie Mercer. It was a joyful celebration of both the program and Ms. Faigle, including a reading of a resolution honoring her passed by the New Jersey Legislature. 

The former residents who spoke told stories of changed lives, of education, employment and permanent housing. Several remarked on the difference between life at the FPC and their experiences with other shelters. "FPC is always there for you," one said. "If you have a problem, you can always go back and get help."

After the speeches were over, there was a rich and varied banquet including two large cakes--one to celebrate the seventh birthday of FPC and the other to honor the service of Ms.  Faigle.

LAST CHANCE! Be the Ace in Our Hand!
Join us at Salt Creek Grille for the HomeFront Annual Poker Tournament on Sunday, Feb. 21. lt begins at 5 p.m. with hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar, a silent auction and a spectacular live auction featuring items from Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen and Michael Jackson. The poker tournament will begin promptly at 6 p.m. and conclude by 10 p.m. The winner will receive a trophy and $500 gift card. Tournament players must reserve a seat as soon as possible. Space is limited. The cost to play is $55. Entry fee (non-players) for the evening is $35. Click here to register.

 

Thank You Cheeburger Cheeburger!
HomeFront held a Holiday Break Mini Program for their client children age 5-13. After attending the movies to see The Princess and the Frog, the children were treated to a free lunch at Cheeburger Cheeburger in Lawrenceville.

Michael McCabe, Cheeburger Cheeburger’s general manager graciously donated meals for 25 HomeFront children.  According to Carlos Hendricks, HomeFront director of Children and Youth programs, “The restaurant staff went out of their way to make the children feel very special.  The kids selected their own meals from the children’s menu and enjoyed ice cream for dessert. John Lim, Cheeburger Cheeburger owner, helped the children order and took photos. He says he was glad to provide meals for the children and that he hopes other local businesses will follow suit and contribute as they can to such a worthy cause.

Pictured in the photo are– Back row: Carlos Hendricks, Lawrenceville; Perri Smith, Lawrenceville and Kristine Anene, Lawrenceville.  Middle row: Brian Helmuth, Levittown; Owner John Lim, West Windsor; Esther Osbourne, Princeton; Megan McLaughlin, Lawrenceville; Joanna Kuang, Lawrenceville and Urvashi Pathania, Lawrenceville.  Front row: Francheska Cruz, Trenton: Alexandra Floyd, West Windsor; DeliHarrys Hernandez and Carlos Camacho, Trenton.
  


Our HIGH Priority Need
A truck! Not just a regular pick up truck, but a truck to pick and deliver furniture, appliances and other donations that help our families settle into a home of their own.

Here are the ideal specs:

  • 18 – 22 foot freight body length
  • Liftgate with 1,600 pound capacity (rear)
  • Overhead door (rear) 
  • AC
  • Engine block heater
  • Backup alarm  
  • Front axle – 6,000-7,000 lb weight rating 
  • Rear axle – 13,000 – 15,500 lb weight rating

If you can help, contact Sunny at 609-989-9417 ext. 127 or sunnye@homefrontnj.org

A Message from HomeFront's Executive Director Connie Mercer
In 2009, HomeFront received 13,928 pleas for help from families facing homelessness, hunger and all the other economic, social and personal problems that go with poverty. This is part of the reason we need your help:

Click here to view a message from Connie Mercer and please provide us with your support.

YPAC Teams Up with Shady Brook Farms for Christmas Tree Sale!
Shady Brook Farms is offering a new way to give back to HomeFront NJ/Young Professionals Alliance Committee.

Shady Brook Farms is again offering a  way to give back to HomeFront NJ/Young Professionals Alliance Committee. When you purchase a Christmas tree and present the flyer found on the YPAC webpage, you get a discount and HomeFront receive 10% of the proceeds. Click on YPAC in the headline for details!

 

Holiday Card Fundraiser Showcases Art of Local Homeless Mothers
The artistic talents of homeless Mercer County mothers grace the covers of holiday cards offered for sale by HomeFront. Proceeds from the sale of these cards will help fund programs for the families living in the Family Preservation Center, a HomeFront shelter in Ewing.

 The artistic talents of homeless Mercer County mothers grace the covers of holiday cards offered for sale by HomeFront. Proceeds from the sale of these cards will help fund programs for the families living in the Family Preservation Center, a HomeFront shelter in Ewing.

The women created the holiday card designs under the supervision of Ruthann Traylor, director of ArtSpace, a program offering “therapeutic art sessions” in the Center. Last summer, Traylor set the mood for holiday card creation at ArtSpace with lights, garland, and holiday music to inspire her clients.

 “We give clients a place to go to relieve stress,” Traylor said. “Some of them say, ‘I can’t paint,’ and I say, ‘If you can move your hand, you can paint.’ If there is a creative aspect to any project, people can be motivated.”

 “In the end, the women who created these cards can’t believe their work is part of a product that can be sold,” she added. “It helps them build self-esteem.

”HomeFront Executive Director Connie Mercer believes that the skills the mothers pick up during the process of creating the cards are essential to self-sufficiency. “They learn the value of sticking with a project and bringing it to completion — in this case, taking their art from drawing through painting to scanning it into a computer, and printing and boxing the cards,” she said. “Many aspects of this project relate directly to skills our clients need to get from shelters to permanent housing.”

 The cards come 8 to a box and are available for $12 a box, or two boxes for $20. They can be purchased online at www. Homefrontnj.org and through local churches, businesses, libraries, and civic groups. 

To find out where cards can be purchased, or if you are interested in helping HomeFront distribute the cards, please call Ms. Traylor at (609) 883-7500 or email ruthannt@homefrontnj.org

Drive of the Month

Bath towels, washcloths and kitchen towels.

YPAC Needs Volunteers
On Saturday, October 10th at 5:30 PM, HomeFront YPAC members will be collecting donations from Your Child and Mine Consignment.

 On Saturday, October 10th at 5:30 PM, HomeFront YPAC members will be collecting donations from Your Child and Mine Consignment. We need help! If you are interested in volunteering, please contact us at HomeFrontYPAC@gmail.com

Board of Trustees Elects Two New Members
The HomeFront Board of Trustees is pleased to elect Tanuja Dehne and Pat Hartpence to their Board.

 The HomeFront Board of Trustees is pleased to elect Tanuja Dehne and Pat Hartpence to their Board.   “We are very excited and honored to have Ms. Dehne and Ms. Hartpence as part of our group,” says Marilyn Grounds, HomeFront Board Chair.  “We look forward to their professional leadership and creative energies as they join us in our fight to make sure that all children have a safe and dignified place to live.”

Ms. Dehne is Deputy General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of NRG Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NRG), a wholesale power generation company headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey.  She is responsible for corporate governance and corporate transactions– including financings, mergers and acquisitions, and public and private securities offerings– as well as securities and stock exchange matters and reporting compliance for the Company.  She oversees the legal support for NRG’s Board of Directors and each of its standing committees.

Prior to joining NRG, Ms. Dehne was a member of Saul Ewing's Business Department in the firm’s Philadelphia and Princeton offices where she practiced in the area of corporate and securities law.

She serves as a member of the Board, Executive Committee, the Governance and Nominating Committee and the Young Leaders of the United Way of Greater Mercer County. Ms. Dehne resides with her family in West Windsor, NJ.

Ms. Hartpence is assistant vice president, Human Resources for New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company where she has worked for over 30 years.  She has held various managerial positions with responsibility for the Personal Automobile Insurance Plan, Standard Auto Policy Processing, Flood, and the Umbrella Underwriting Departments.  In 1998, she earning her Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter designation and has served as an instructor for these courses. In her current position in Human Resources, she has responsibility for HR Operational Services.  She recently earned the Senior Professional in Human Resources designation.

Currently she serves as co-chairperson of the Ways and Means Committee of the Insurance Women of Mercer County and has been a member of the Hospitality Committee of the Human Resource Management Association of Princeton since 2001. She is also an active member of the Greater Princeton Human Resources Association and recently became President of the CPCU Society of Central NJ.  Ms. Hartpence resides with her family in West Amwell Township, New Jersey. 

 

 

Renown Chess Authority Dean Ippolito to Participate at HomeFront's Chess for Charity Marathon
The Princeton University Chess Club, NJ State Chess Federation, Dean of Chess Academy and Dumont Chess Mates are sponsoring an all day Chess Marathon, the first of its kind in this area, at All Saints Episcopal Church in Princeton on Saturday, October 17 from 9am until 9pm. Proceeds will benefit the Children’s Programs at HomeFront.

The Princeton University Chess Club, NJ State Chess Federation, Dean of Chess Academy and Dumont Chess Mates are sponsoring an all day Chess Marathon, the first of its kind in Mercer County, NJ, at All Saints Episcopal Church in Princeton on Saturday, October 17 from 9am until 9pm.  Proceeds will benefit the Children’s Programs at HomeFront.

The Marathon will be a day of chess-related activities for chess enthusiasts of all skill levels and ages, including those who want to learn to play chess in a day.  Seasoned chess players will enjoy all formats ( ie. Swiss, Round Robin, Quads) available during the day based on availability of other attendees. Rated games (USCF membership required) will also be available on site for an additional fee.  Other activities will include free lessons, demonstrations and lectures.  Pre-registration for unlimited access to the entire day is $30 per person through the HomeFront website or $35 at the door.

The highlight of the event will be an appearance by International Grand Master Dean Ippolito, who will be signing autographs from 4:30-5:00 and then, for $20 a board, playing anyone who wants to challenge him simultaneously.

Click here for details and to register. Questions should be directed to Anita Hanft, Director of Mission Advancement at HomeFront at 609-989-9417 Ext. 107.

 

Check Out our ArtSpace Web Page
See the art, visit the exhibits and help support our program. (Click here for more information)

Our innovative therapeutic art program draws on creativity, and promotes socialization, self-confidence and self-expression among individuals who might have low self-esteem because of poverty, homelessness, and family abuse.

HomeFront and Men’s Wearhouse Team Up for National Suit Drive
Concerned that thousands of men are unable to secure employment because they lack the initial, yet vital, step of looking presentable for a job interview, HomeFront and Men’s Wearhouse are working together to collect men's professional attire as part of the 2nd Annual National Suit Drive, September 1-30.

Concerned that thousands of men are unable to secure employment because they lack the initial, yet vital, step of looking presentable for a job interview, HomeFront and Men’s Wearhouse are working together to collect thousands of articles of professional attire as part of the 2nd Annual National Suit Drive, September 1-30.

HomeFront along with more than 200 other nonprofit organizations have partnered with Men’s Wearhouse, the nation’s leading retailer of men’s tailored clothing, to help empower unemployed men by providing the necessary work attire that will build their self-esteem and help make a lasting impression during job interviews.

  “We are very excited to work with Men’s Wearhouse on the National Suit Drive campaign,” says Connie Mercer, HomeFront executive director. “Proper professional attire really makes a difference in our clients’ lives. With these donations, men will have the opportunity to walk into an interview with confidence an essential step toward economic stability.”

 Last year, the inaugural suit drive garnered 125,000 professional items nationally.  This year, HomeFront and Men’s Wearhouse have set a goal of not only gathering as many items as possible, but also increasing awareness about the importance clothing has on clients’ success as they work to overcome barriers to gainful employment. 

 “It became apparent many years ago that there was a long-standing need to help men who are striving for self-sufficiency,” said George Zimmer, CEO and Chairman of Men’s Wearhouse.  “We started a Merchandise Donation program to provide professional clothing to nonprofit organizations serving these men.  However, our program could not meet the demand, so we implemented the National Suit Drive to assist us in our efforts to help less fortunate men by giving them a renewed sense of dignity and respect.  Philanthropy is a major part of our corporate fabric and given the economic climate, this year’s National Suit Drive is more important than ever.”  

To demonstrate its commitment, Men’s Wearhouse will add a new tie to help complete the outfit for every suit donated.

All 1,065 Men’s Wearhouse and Men’s Wearhouse & Tux locations will serve as drop-off sites for gently used suits, dress shirts, sport coats, slacks, ties, belts and shoes that will be used to benefit men in need of these items to transition into the workforce.  Men’s Wearhouse will accept donations for HomeFront which in turn will provide them to individuals who utilize their services.  For a complete list of drop-off locations, please visit www.nationalsuitdrive.com.

 

Is It A Crime To Be Poor?
As the recession creates more poverty, what has happened to reason and compasssion?

 As the recession creates more poverty, what has happened to reason and compasssion? Read the third in a New York Times series which examines how we are coping with publicly poor people.   Go to www.nytimes.com/2009/08/09/opinion/09ehrenreich.html.

Job Opportunities
Click here to review our open positions. It might be a job of a lifetime!

 Click here to review our open positions. It might be a job of a lifetime!

Triumph Brewery Hosts Art Exhibit

Be sure to visit Triumph Brewing Company in Princeton from now till September 19 to view HomeFront's ArtSpace Art Exhibit featuring wonderful works from HomeFront clients/artists. Art may be purchased. Join us for a reception on August 11 at 7 p.m.

YPAC Plans Events
The Young Professionals Alliance Committee (YPAC) has some pretty exciting preliminary plans on the table! A huge community yard sale and a costume ball!

Volunteer Orientation-Oct. 7

1880 Princeton Avenue, Lawrenceville. 6 p.m.

Send A Smile, Receive A Smile
Monday Morning Flower and Balloon Company with locations in Princeton and Yardley routinely bring smiles to the faces of HomeFront children as their balloons have been a special element in birthday celebrations.

Now they are going an extra mile by donating $5 from each order that has the code HOMEFRONT. Call them at 609-520-2005 or 215-493-1400 or visit their website: www.sendingsmiles.com.  Every order will help us help a family.

HomeFront's 2009 Annual Report Available
HomeFront's Annual Report honors our community of supporters and highlights the scope of our mission. Click above to read the annual report and on the attached pdf for a list of additional donors.

HomeFront Rehabs Houses in Hopewell Township The Times, July 8, 2010

HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP - Two years ago, the two buildings at 449 Scotch Road sat dilapidated and abandoned. Now, with the help of HomeFront, Hopewell Township and Mercer County, they are set to house three low-income families.

FPC Focuses on Improved Nutrition

Eat well, be well could be the new motto at FPC as we encourage our clients to eat more salads to keep fit. To that end, we need a salad bar! Used, but in good shape would be fine. We also are looking for someone to sponsor or partially subsidize our healthy focus on health and nutrition. Contact Thora Faigle at 609-883-7500 if you can help.

 

 

For more information, call 609-989-9417 or send an email to: .


Contact |Privacy Policy |Legal |Sitemap |Employment |Login

© HomeFront NJ. All rights reserved. |Hosted by Princeton Online