Our History

How We Got Here

Winter 2012
A meeting was held at the urging of Princeton Human Services with individuals interested in the plight of those who benefit from food sources Princeton. As a result of this meeting a group was formed to address food insecurity experienced by children in the Princeton School System.
January 2013
A group was formed to be the driving force behind this newly established initiative now known as Send Hunger Packing Princeton. This group was comprised of members of Princeton Human Services Commission, the Princeton School Board and Mercer Street Friends. Send Hunger Packing Princeton was a direct outgrowth from the already established Mercer Street Friends program known simply as Send Hunger Packing.
June 9, 2013
Much planning by this group and by many other local citizens committed to the success of the school children of Princeton, resulted in a very successful fundraising event held at the Princeton Garden Theater. The event was centered around the showing of the documentary film, A Place at the Table A panel discussion moderated by Elizabeth Hirschhorn Donahue of the Woodrow Wilson School and comprised of the writer and director, Lori Silverbush, Doug Massey, Office of Population Research, Princeton University, Judy Wilson, superintendent of schools and school psychologist, Edwina Hawes. This successful event got the program off to an excellent start. Lead supporters included the Bonner Foundation, Princeton University, Princeton Theological Seminary, Jenny and Jon Crumiller, the Albin Family Foundation. And many community supporters contributed to the effort.
September 2013
Send Hunger Packing Princeton commences operation. Participants include the Princeton Nursery School and Kindergarten through 5th grade classes at Community Park, Johnson Park, Littlebrook and Riverside Schools.
September 14, 2014
Second awareness raiser and fundraiser is held at Community Park School. Chef Duffy, of TV notoriety, is the featured event. He demonstrated well thought-out meals easy to prepare and of good nutritious value. Another successful event! While the event competed with the annual Princeton Jazz Fest, it captured the front page of the Trenton Times. Its compelling human empathy was the driving force.
September 14, 2014
Second awareness raiser and fundraiser is held at Community Park School. Chef Duffy, of TV notoriety, is the featured event. He demonstrated well thought-out meals easy to prepare and of good nutritious value. Another successful event! While the event competed with the annual Princeton Jazz Fest, it captured the front page of the Trenton Times. Its compelling human empathy was the driving force.
September 2014
The second year commences. All participants remain the same.
April 2015
The program grows. John Witherspoon Middle School is now a participant.
Summer 2015
The program grows again. Through the overseeing of the Princeton YMCA, hot meals are provided to the Jump Start kids in the Johnson Park School during the week. Weekend supplementary meals are provided to these same kids and to kids in the YMCA and YWCA camps, in the Princeton Recreation Camp and in the Princeton Nursery School.
September 20, 2015
The third awareness-raiser and fund-raiser was held at Hinds Plaza in the heart of Princeton. It was a Hunger Banquet, an immersive experience which explored the randomness of who food insecutity can effect. And how important it is that we never take a full stomach for granted.
January 2016

Thanksgiving in January.  Extending the holiday season, the SHUPP board decided to give to all SHUPP participants a $25 gift card to Shop Rite.  In the words of one parent, “Wow, this is such a great gift!  Not sure why they did it, but we are grateful.”

Summer 2016

he program continued as it did in 2015. The challenge for summers is that, unlike during the school year, the children are not in the 6 schools. Those who attend camps are available, but this is a fraction of those who receive food during the school year. Fruits and vegetables are provided from the Farmers Market at Hinds Plaza, primarily from Terhune’s and Cherry Orchard Farm. The families truly appreciate this fresh food option, which is difficult during the school year when the farmers market is operated only one per month and fresh produce is not available.

September 25, 2016

The fourth fund-raiser was again held at Hinds Plaza, and once again was hosted by celebrity chef and huge SHUPP supporter Brian Duffy. Chef Duffy graciously MC’d SHUPP’s “Fill the Bowl’s” fund raiser and did a mouth watering, cooking demonstration. Fill the Bowls also known as Empty Bowls has been a fundraising event around the nation for many years. The event was a mid day, family friendly event. The Bowls were filled by local restaurants who generously provided an assortment of meals to the event participants. The bowls themselves were hand made by artist, potter and Princeton adjunct professor Adam Welch. The admission fee to the event includes the purchase of one of these beautiful, commemorative bowls. The “take away” from the event was clear and the bowls in each participants cupboard would be a reminder that there are children in our Princeton schools who often experience food insecurity.

2016-2017 School Year

The program continued and the challenges of the previous years continued. It is difficult to make inroads in encouraging older students to participate. Meal costs from Mercer Street Friends was increased to $6.00 during the first part of the school year, but reduced by January back to the $5.00 per weekend pack. The weekly meals are close to 150 packs per week, a number which varies from week to week. SHUPP does endeavor to provide extra packs when approaching holidays and this school year was no different. In April, extra packs for the Spring Break were distributed.

Summer 2017

The difficulty of reaching students during the summer continued. This summer, SHUPP collaborated with Cornerstone Community Kitchen with Trenton’s Division of Recreating being the sponsor of a summer feeding program. The collaboration among the organizations was strong. The idea was to provide free breakfast to children under 18 at Witherspoon Street Presbyterian Church. Unfortunately, it was a good effort but was closed shortly after starting due to poor participation. Once again, SHUPP provided meals for the Jump Start program, a program that helps prepare children for the start of their education in Kindergarten. This year, SHUPP, together with the Johnson Park Coco Fund, provided funding for meals at the Princeton Recreation Department’s summer camp. The program was successful, and the collaboration with the Recreation Department was seamless. 

September 24, 2017

The fifth fundraiser.  This time the theme is Salsa and Salsa.  There were 3 primary focuses of this event.  The first was sales of bowls again made by Adam Welch.  The second was a Salsa contest with local restaurant participants.  The winner was 2 Sevens.  And the third was Salsa dancing led by a local Salsa group.  The focus on the food insecurity way too prominent in Princeton remained.

Fall 2017

SHUPP will now be expanding its services to provide weekend meal packs to approximately 15 additional children who participate in the Free and Reduced Lunch Program at the Princeton Charter School. This will increase the number of children served to about 140.

January 1, 2018

A major milestone for SHUPP.  It has now been granted full status as its own non-profit 501C-3 Corporation.  After years of operating under the aegis of Mercer Street Friends, Send Hunger Packing Princeton now stands alone.  It now works with Mercer Street Friends which provides the meals SHUPP purchases.

Spring 2018

Recognizing that SHUPP hasn’t been working well in John Witherspoon Middle School, recognizing that there is a reluctance by the students to accept food because of social reasons, SHUPP partnered with Arm in Arm at their Nassau Presbyterian food pantry to offer an alternative. Rather than provide weekly packages of food at the school, parents of the students could visit the pantry once per month and “buy” family friendly food including items like fresh produce and frozen chickens.  At this point we are not convinced that this was a successful alternative

Summer 2018

The process continues.  Jump Start at JP continues.  This year SHUPP partnered with the Princeton Childrens fund and the Rec Department to cover the cost of lunches for the scholarship campers which represented 162 kids.  The program ensured that all kids, regardless of financial considerations, received exactly the same meals.

September 23, 2018

Family Fun Day is on this Sunday as SHUPP’s annual fundraiser and awareness raiser.  The theme of the day is fun with DJ’s, face painting, photo booth, popcorn, pretzels, ice cream and more.

Fall 2018

Another Fall program begins.  Process remains firm.  The tri-party of the the SHUPP, MSF and the Princeton Schools continue to handle their respective roles.  The elementary students continue to receive the weekend packs as requested.

Spring 2019
This term also continues to operate as expected.
Summer 2019
SHUPP continues to support the Princeton Rec Camp in coordination with the Princeton Children’s Fund.  SHUPP also continues to supply lunches to the Mini-Achievers run by the YMCA.  These mini-achievers are preparing to enter Kindergarten in the Fall.
The new program added this summer is a collaboration with Matt Conver, owner of Cherry Grove Organic Farm.  Matt has provided fresh produce on Fridays which SHUPP picks up and delivers to the mini-achievers, to the Princeton Nursery School and to other locations as the supply permits.  This is well received by the recipients who frequently request fresh produce.
Fall 2019

The story continues.  Stay tuned to the article in the Back to School edition of the Princeton Magazine.  SHUPP is proud to acknowledge this article and recognition of the role it plays in the life cycle of the Princeton students.

Join our mailing list