The St. Paul’s Community Development Corporation has been awarded $300,000 from Chick-fil-A to continue its battle against hunger in Paterson.
St. Paul’s was one of 34 organizations in the U.S. recognized by Chick-fil-A in its 2021 True Inspiration Awards.
“We are humbled and grateful to be recognized for our efforts. When we received notification that the franchise team from Chick-fil-A Wayne Towne Center wanted to tour our facility and bring lunch for our staff and homeless residents, we had no idea until they arrived and surprised us with a check that we had won,” stated Richard C. Williams, executive director for the St. Paul’s Community Development Corporation (SPCDC). “It was truly one of those unbelievable moments of joy, hope, and gratitude.”
Chick-fil-A prioritized organizations that were Black-led or served communities of color for 2021 awards. Williams said the St. Paul’s Community Development Corporation serves 1,600 mostly Black and Hispanic families every year. It provides a seven-day supply of groceries to each member of the household twice per month.
Covid-19 has increased hardship, leading to a 45 percent increase in services. Over 500,000 meal equivalents were distributed from April to December this year.
“This recognition and support could not have come at a more important time,” Williams said. His organization has been running supplemental food pantry services at Schools 4, 5, 15, New Roberto Clemente, and John F. Kennedy High School. 300 families were served by the school pantries per year before the pandemic. He estimates that number will double at the end of 2021 school year.