It’s a warm, sunny morning and a group of masked individuals is bringing bags of food to the porch of a building that sits next to a church. This has been the daily routine at Madison Ave Crossroads for the past six months.
Madison Ave Crossroads is the outreach and service arm of Madison Ave Christian Reformed Church, it manages a food bank, two houses for men in recovery, a childcare center, an after school center (in partner with New City Kids), a senior center, and Cadets and Gems programs.
Madison Ave has had to make some serious changes because of COVID. Normally they would bring people inside and talk to and pray with them when they come to the food bank, right now they have moved their operation to the building’s front porch. Meetings for other parts of Madison Ave’s ministry have had to be online.
Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Madison Ave has been continuing their work in the community. Because of the pandemic and associated economic hardship, the needs of the community have increased. Madison Ave Crossroads Director, Mr. Tom Henion said: “We have triple, sometimes quadruple, the number of people that we serve.”
However, donations have largely been able to keep up with the demands. “Folks have been really good about giving more because they realize the times we are in,” said Mr. Henion.
The food bank has also received a $5,000 grant from the New Jersey Pandemic Fund, which can be used to buy food from the Food Bank of New Jersey at a much lower price than in stores.
Despite the problems associated with these times, Madison Ave has been able to make the most of the situation. They have been able to reach out to many new people, as Mr. Henion has said: “It’s made people want to know more about why these people are doing this and they’re not charging me anything.”
With all the work being done and food distributed at Madison Ave, it is imperative that the community is there to support their work. The best way that someone can help is to donate food or participate in a food drive. For more information on what is best to donate and how you can help, visit http://www.madisonavecrossroads.org/