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Alleluia Story: Interfaith Food Pantry of the Oranges

Grocery bags ready to go to patrons of the Interfaith Food Pantry of the Oranges
Peggy Baggaley

As a member of Christ Church in Short Hills, for the past few years I have been organizing Christ Church’s involvement with the Interfaith Food Pantry of the Oranges (IFPO), which provides supplemental and emergency food to low-income residents of Orange and East Orange most Wednesdays year-round.

Housed at the Church of the Epiphany in Orange, IFPO is a collaborative effort of four congregations in Short Hills and South Orange: Christ Church, Congregation Beth El, Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, and Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel.

Our demand has more than doubled over the past year to more than 120 households a week, so it is a challenge to keep our shelves stocked. Even so, we try to be sure no one who comes to us goes away hungry.

Our goal is to offer healthy choices to our patrons. We are grateful to the Alleluia Fund for providing us with a grant to purchase fresh produce each week. As a result, our patrons have enjoyed the variety of fruits and vegetables like grapefruit and eggplant we have been able to supply.

I know I have become a better Christian by working with our Jewish counterparts on this common cause. Whether motivated by Deuteronomy or the Gospel of Matthew, we all wish to help our neighbors, who live only 6 ½ miles away. While IFPO cannot fix the whole world, we make a very real difference to the lives we touch there – and vice versa. Each week I know that I am doing the Lord’s work, and feel that I am blessed.