Stories

Beginning Action Steps Toward a Better Arm In Arm and a More Just Society

Beginning Action Steps Toward a Better Arm In Arm and a More Just Society

The senseless death of George Floyd and so many other Black Americans before him has again painfully illustrated the urgent need for a more just society in which all Americans stand against the systemic discrimination...Read More »


A Letter from Our Executive Director: Reflections on a Difficult Week

No matter the demands of the week—and there are often plenty in providing others enough food or rental assistance or help finding a job—our staff meetings are generally filled with enthusiasm and joy. The Arm In Arm team of staff and volunteers are a diverse group of extraordinarily dedicated people...Read More »


Derrick's Story

When COVID-19 came to our community, Arm In Arm was quick to adapt and provide our food services through home delivery. As we continued to see rising numbers of families in need of support, we knew our team would have to expand in response. We are thankful to welcome Derrick,...Read More »


Phil's Story

Volunteering at the Hanover Street Pantry during the pandemic is quite different. While I dearly miss being able to greet and serve the families of the community, I am uplifted by the spirit of the staff and fellow volunteers at the pantry working with a new sense of urgency. Our...Read More »


Brenda's Story

Brenda grabs a McCaffrey’s grocery bag and doubles it up with a second. This grocery supply she is gathering for a family will be heavy, and she doesn’t want the bag to break. She reaches out for a can of tuna, jars of peanut butter, a container of shelf-stable milk....Read More »


Amy's Story

My son and I were glad to have the opportunity to pitch in by delivering groceries from the Hanover Street pantry. Arm In Arm is functioning like a well-oiled machine, and when we arrived to pick up the groceries, they were already neatly packed, two bags per location, with a...Read More »


Cecilia's Story

“One of the things I love about our Princeton community is the diversity,” said Cecilia Avila, coordinator of Arm In Arm’s Princeton pantry. “But it is hard to see some people being hurt by this crisis more than others. Our undocumented neighbors are especially hurting right now.” 

I’m used to being in the trenches. I’m used to interfacing with the clientele up close and personal. Now everything is so spread apart and so far distanced. I mainly deal with the homeless population and those that are underserved. With social distancing, I barely see anyone. Very...Read More »


Luis' Story

It was late March, and Arm In Arm was in the midst of launching 100% mobile delivery due to the growing COVID-19 crisis. Bullet shots rang out as I drove away from our pantry. I said a silent prayer in a time when many may be questioning a higher power....Read More »


Shariq's Story

Shariq surveys the volunteers packing bags on a Wednesday morning. He checks on their stock of each food item, hauling bulk trays of canned corn, plastic wrapped bins of peanut butter, and noisy boxes of dry pasta up from storage. He refills supplies for each volunteer, and then he reorganizes...Read More »


Homeless Doesn't Have To Be Hopeless

“220…216…214….Where is 212?” I asked myself out loud. I had one delivery left, but the houses and numbers seemed to stop and then disappear. Where was 212?

I pulled over into a parking lot to regroup. The dry cleaners attached to the lot looked abandoned, but as I took in my surroundings,...Read More »


What Separates Us, Unites Us

When we pulled up, the house looked dark inside.

A few moments later, my son Mack and I were standing in front of the home; in our rubber-gloved hands were bags of food. Earlier in the week, Arm In Arm staff had called families to arrange grocery deliveries. Volunteers had filled...Read More »


Coronavirus Service Changes

With the current COVID-19 pandemic affecting everyone, it is important we as an organization take precautions. That’s why we’re doing our part to modify services, lower exposure, and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Please note our locations in Princeton and Trenton are have modified their services.

See below for information on...Read More »


A Note from Executive Director David Fox

Greetings! I am grateful to be serving as the new Executive Director of Arm In Arm. As staff member Cecilia said while training me in our pantry, “It is our great blessing to be able to serve others.”

Having spent 20 years collectively at Covenant House, the largest private program for homeless...Read More »


Our New Year's Resolution

Every day, around 100 shoppers come through Arm In Arm’s doors and leave with three days’ worth of food for their families. Carrying all those groceries requires a lot of bags. In order to better serve our clients and reduce our environmental footprint, we are setting a goal to distribute...Read More »


Staff Spotlight: Erykah

Erykah, an Army veteran, joins Arm In Arm as our Community Outreach Worker and Cookwell Program Assistant. As part of our team, she engages community members experiencing homelessness in accessing resources and conducts life skills groups for citizens reentering society. Erykah comes to us with an extensive background working with...Read More »


Arm In Arm Announces Interim Co-Leaders

On behalf of the Arm In Arm Board of Directors, we are pleased to announce the appointment of Margaret Cowell and Cynthia Mendez as Interim Co-Leaders, following the departure of long-time Executive Director Carolyn Biondi.

Margaret is a social services program director experienced in advocating for low-income community members as well...Read More »


Client Spotlight: Jammie

“When I’m helping in the pantry with food, and I see the smile on their face, something inside me clicks. You know, I really like that. I never really helped anyone before. Now I’m helping people and people are helping me.” -Jammie, Job Support Client

Jammie was working a steady job...Read More »


Three New Board Members Join the Arm In Arm Team

Adrian Colarusso is a Vice President in BlackRock’s Princeton office. His team consults with over 5,000 financial advisors per year to help them build the best portfolios they can for their clients. In addition to consulting, his role includes the creation of thought leadership content on investing and the development of...Read More »


Executive Director Carolyn Biondi Shares News of Planned Departure

Carolyn Biondi Headhsot

It is with both sadness and joy that I announce my planned departure from Arm In Arm in October of this year.  My experience over the past eight plus years at Arm In Arm has been profoundly meaningful and helped me grow tremendously both professionally and personally.  I am proud...Read More »


Client Spotlight: Lisa

“Before I came to Arm In Arm, I didn’t think I’d be able to have this house. This home. It’s not a house, it’s home. I’m so grateful to Arm In Arm for helping me out. I would not be here right now without you.” -Lisa, Housing Client

Lisa worked all...Read More »


Arm In Arm Welcomes Jenn Johnston, New Director of Communications and Development

Jenn joins the Arm In Arm team with nearly 10 years of nonprofit experience, spanning from coast to coast. She started her career in Boston at a small nonprofit focused on empowering girls through media; there, she found a deep passion for philanthropy, community mobilization, and social change. In addition...Read More »


Meet Arm In Arm's 2019 Interns

Students play a big part in the success of Arm In Arm all year. In the summer months, we are fortunate to have local college and high school students bring their knowledge and passion to our team as full-time interns. This year, we are excited to welcome Germalysa Ferrer, Emanuel...Read More »


Arm In Arm Introduces Two New Staff Members

Calder Burgam – Community Engagement Coordinator

Calder first joined Arm In Arm as a regular volunteer at the Hanover Street pantry. Having moved to Princeton to join his fiancé as she began graduate school at Westminster Choir College, he was excited to find a welcoming community at Arm In Arm. Calder...Read More »


Great Things Are Happening at Arm In Arm

“Our ‘All Kids Thrive’ program at Robbins Elementary School in Trenton to alleviate and prevent chronic absenteeism is just a beautiful venture. As the ‘All Kids Thrive’ Navigator, I am super-blessed to help lead it. Our goal is to improve food security and housing stability for 100 students and their...Read More »


Workforce Development

When Arm In Arm works with job trainees in our Workforce Development program, the ultimate goal is to see these men and women find stable employment or placement in career-advancing education. With hands-on experience, mentoring, and job-search support, our program members build stronger resumes and make themselves more prepared to...Read More »


Yes We CAN! Food Drives

Since 2008, Arm In Arm has benefited from the vital support of Yes We CAN! Food Drives, a volunteer organization dedicated to alleviating hunger in Mercer County. Our friends and partners at Yes We CAN! contribute mightily to our Hunger Prevention program by collecting food at local grocery stores and...Read More »


Meet Arm In Arm's 2018 summer interns

All of us at Arm In Arm appreciate the energy, creativity, and passion our summer 2018 college interns bring to their involvement with our community and our organization. Here, they share a bit about their academic interests, what brought them to Arm In Arm, and how they are making the...Read More »


The facts behind senior hunger

Did you know that nearly 1 in 6 older Americans faces a threat of hunger or poor nutrition?

Seniors Being Hungry is a Nationwide Epidemic

Article by The National Council for Aging Care

Nearly one in every six seniors in America faces the threat of hunger and not being properly nourished. This...Read More »


Meet team member Angie Vargas

Did you know that Arm In Arm now offers expanded services for families and individuals who live in Princeton?

Through a Community Service Block Grant awarded by the Mercer County Department of Human Services, Arm In Arm will work with at least 75 income-eligible Princeton households to overcome barriers to financial...Read More »


More Than Just Outreach

Reflection shared by Luis Rivera, Arm In Arm outreach worker

He comes in with an expression that can best be described as desperation and fear. He said that I was not going to believe what “THEY” are trying to do to him now. He was full of negative thoughts.

He had missed...Read More »


Arm In Arm Welcomes New Board Members Johannes Haushofer, Elizabeth Koehler, Deborah Toppmeyer, Phil Unetic and Sallye Zink

Please join us in welcoming five new members to our board of directors!

Johannes Haushofer

Johannes Haushofer is an Assistant Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs and Affiliated Faculty in the Department of Economics at Princeton University. He is interested in understanding whether poverty has particular psychological and neurobiological consequences, and whether...Read More »


Why We Give: Arm In Arm supporters share their stories

As 2018 draws to a close, we celebrate the resilience and perseverance of more than 11,000 people of all ages who work arm in arm with us to increase their own food, housing, and employment stability. We also celebrate those who are committed to improving the lives of Mercer County...Read More »


Reflections From Our Summer Interns

Last week, we said goodbye as the last of our summer interns headed back to school. Since June, we had the opportunity to work with several impressive students, who dedicated their summers to supporting the mission and programs of Arm In Arm. Before they finished their internships, we asked each...Read More »


From the Times of Trenton: Feds grant Trenton $3.8M to help house the homeless

By Kevin Shea
kshea@njadvancemedia.com

For NJ.com

TRENTON — The city announced Thursday they’ve received a $3.8 million federal grant to aid their ongoing partnership work in finding shelter for the homeless.

Homelessness continues to be a “troubling national...Read More »


So Percussion Summer Institute packs 31,000 mac'n'cheese meals for Arm In Arm pantry customers

For the third summer in a row, our friends from the renowned percussion ensemble So Percussion took a day from their two-week residency at Princeton University to pack mac’n’cheese meals for customers of Arm In Arm’s three food...Read More »


Arm In Arm Strikes Out Summer Hunger with the United Way of Greater Mercer County

Left to right in the photos above, Carolyn Biondi, Arm In Arm’s Executive Director, welcomed UWGMC’s Sandra Toussaint, President & CEO, and Tarry Truitt, Community Relations Director, for a tour and visit. During the July 26 visit, Sandra presented our summer...Read More »

Volunteer Reflection by Andre Biehl

The following guest post was written by volunteer Andre Biehl.

For me, volunteering is a passion. I have been volunteering at Arm in Arm since 2015, when I was in 7th grade. In my work, I restock shelves with healthy foods and help clients select their food items. I have staffed...Read More »


Jacque Howard of WIMG's Trenton 365 radio program interviews Kevin Parham about outreach to chronically homeless individuals

Kevin Parham

Did you know Mercer County is one of the best areas in the nation for services that help people who are homeless? Tune in to Jacque Howard’s Trenton 365 radio program on WIMG-1300 as he talks with Kevin Parham of Arm...Read More »


Join Us for Lunch This Summer!

This summer, Arm In Arm, with support from Mercer Street Friends Food Bank, will offer free lunch to children and teens in our Trenton community through the USDA’s summer meals program. “Our board and staff are thrilled to be able to expand our mission to end hunger,” comments Arm In...Read More »


A Passion for Compassion

To commemorate Social Work Month:

“Social workers stand up for millions of people every day. These include people who are experiencing devastating illnesses and mental health crises, our veterans, children, families and communities. Yet many people still misunderstand who social workers are and the invaluable contributions they bring to society.” Excerpt from...Read More »


Connecting with Our Homeless Neighbors

A parent struggles to make ends meet. A veteran deals with trauma while readjusting to civilian life. A young person tries to get out of a bad situation. Homelessness doesn’t always look the way we expect to see it.

Arm In Arm has worked for over thirty years to help families...Read More »


The Lederman family

cody-stacey-carly-lederman

Volunteering is a wonderful way to help cultivate compassion in my children. They spend so much time studying and practicing sports that they need to set aside time to help others. It teaches them that everyone needs help once in a while, and if they have the ability to give it,...Read More »


NRG Employees spend a day of volunteering

NRG-volunteers-website

NRG volunteers worked with the Crisis Ministry of Mercer County, Inc. (now Arm in Arm), and its project partner Isles, Inc., to prepare the Crisis Ministry’s new downtown Trenton community garden. Mark Smith, Crisis Ministry Hunger Prevention Director, said NRG’s day of volunteering “was a real turning point for the...Read More »


Gretchen Jaeckel

Gretchen-Jaeckel

Every Tuesday, Gretchen Jaeckel arrives at the Crisis Ministry’s Princeton food pantry, ready to work.

Sleeves rolled up, Gretchen unpacks boxes and then breaks them down, stocks shelves, sorts through produce, separates the good fruit from the spoiled, and tidies up the store.

All of this before the doors even open to...Read More »


Katy Kinsolving

Katy in Princeton

Tuesdays are busy at the Crisis Ministry’s Princeton pantry. As Tuesday hours stretch into evening, clients flock to the pantry for fresh produce and healthy food choices, as well as for the friendly smile and warm greeting of volunteer Katy Kinsolving. Always generous with her humor, knowledge, and compassion, Katy...Read More »


Guilherme Brewer

I graduated from The College of New Jersey in May of 2014 with a degree in Philosophy and am grateful I had the freedom to study a wide range of subjects. I have been with Crisis Ministry since December of 2014 and it has been an extremely rewarding experience. I spend...Read More »


Bringing the Farm to the City

Brian and Elyse from Farmers Against Hunger hosting a tasting during a busy day at the East Hanover Street Pantry.

A recent community health survey by the Trenton Health Team showed that more than 40% of Trenton residents feel it’s challenging to find fresh produce in their community. In some Trenton neighborhoods, that figure rises to 50%. Compare that to Mercer County as a whole, where only 16% of residents...Read More »


Volunteer Spotlight: Helen Burke

Helen Burke, Homelessness Prevention volunteer.

Monday mornings, iced coffee in hand, Helen Burke arrives at the Crisis Ministry to volunteer as an intake specialist in our Homeless Prevention program. Helen first came to the Crisis Ministry in response to a leaflet she received at Trinity Church about volunteering. “At first, I...Read More »


Volunteer Spotlight: Brenda Mason

Brenda Mason, Volunteer and Retired Diva

It was little more than a year ago that Brenda Mason and her fellow members of the Lady Orchid Assembly #44, a community service organization, arrived for a morning of volunteer service in the Crisis Ministry’s pantry on East Hanover Street.

She and her fellow Lady Orchid volunteers liked what they...Read More »


Cora Evans

Cora Evans

 

Cora was a standout when enrolled in our Harvesting Hope training and employment search program.

Cora refreshed her skills and focused her job search, all the while providing excellent service within the Crisis Ministry’s food pantry program as an on-the-job trainee.

Cora completed the Harvesting Hope program with proven skills, new experience,...Read More »


“C”

The story of C., a mother of two children with disabilities, illustrates how the program’s relatively low individual direct costs can lead to life-changing results. When C. came to the Crisis Ministry for assistance in March 2012 she was not working, and her family’s sole income came from the disability...Read More »


Vanessa, Crisis Ministry staff member

The Crisis Ministry receives hundreds of calls each month from people facing shut-off of utilities due to non-payment. We assist as many qualifying callers as we can with direct payments of up to $400 to the utilities.

In some cases, however, the cause of the issue calls for a different kind...Read More »


Christina

Christina

A manager for 10 years at a telecommunications company, Christina was laid off from her job and is glad that the Crisis Ministry is here for her during a difficult time.

Thanks to back rent assistance from our Homelessness Prevention team she and her children remain in their apartment.

Through the Crisis...Read More »


Calvin Brown

So often, the things we take for granted are also most important to our success and well-being. A quick run to the market, a drive to a doctor’s appointment, a trip to a job interview; how difficult these simple tasks become if we can’t drive.

Graduates of the Crisis...Read More »


Michael

Michael

“Homelessness affected several areas of my life,” says Michael. “I wasn’t providing for my five-year-old daughter. I wasn’t in contact with my family, and they worried about me as I moved from house to house with friends or to a shelter. Homelessness has been intrinsic to my life since the...Read More »


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