Hunger can go by many names: food insecurity, food hardships, food shortages, meal gaps. Regardless of the chosen terminology, it is a consequence of poverty and the result of food not always being available, affordable and or accessible to people with insufficient financial resources. Together we can change this state of affairs.
Almost 420 local children, 12% of the school population, qualify for free or subsidized school lunches during the week. But there is no help for them on the weekends. This striking need for supplemental food on the weekends led to a reach out to Mercer Street Friends to bring their Send Hunger Packing program into Princeton.
SHUPP is a collaborative effort of the Princeton Human Services Commission, Mercer Street Friends a local 501(c)3, and the Princeton School District. In September 2013, the Princeton Public Schools began to distribute weekend food backpacks, provided by Mercer Street Friends, to children in the Princeton schools (K-5 so far) and at the Princeton Nursery School. To date, SHUPP has distributed over 84,000 meals in this way.