"As we reflect on the success of 'Friendsgiving,' I am truly inspired by the spirit of generosity and community that defines this special occasion," -Craig Mainor, UCC Executive Director.
By: Richard L. Smith
In a heartwarming display of generosity and community spirit, United Community Corporation (UCC), Newark's community action agency, took a stand against hunger this holiday season.The nonprofit held its annual "Friendsgiving" distribution event on November 21, bringing warmth and nourishment to more than 270 local families.
Hosted at the West Side Park Community Center in Newark, this distribution event was a lifeline for those facing food insecurity during the holiday season.
Families gathered in the gymnasium to receive a full holiday meal, complete with a choice of meat and all the trimmings, highlighting the significant challenges many households in Greater Newark confront when it comes to accessing nutritious food.
The diverse offerings made possible through the generous contributions of UCC's community partners painted a vivid picture of unity and compassion during a time of need.
"As we celebrate the season of giving, it becomes increasingly important to extend a helping hand to our neighbors. The significance of giving back to the community during the holiday season cannot be overstated. It's about fostering a sense of dignity and grace for every individual."
Friendsgiving, at its core, represents a collective commitment to ensuring that everyone, regardless of their background, can partake in the warmth and abundance that this time of year signifies.Addressing food insecurity in urban communities becomes especially vital during the holiday season, as it accentuates existing disparities.
In 2022, 17 million households across the U.S. reported being food insecure, a significant increase from previous years. Newark, in particular, faces challenges, with sections of each of the city's five wards designated as "food deserts," according to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.
By addressing this pressing issue, UCC aims to alleviate immediate concerns while also nurturing a sense of community. The goal is to enable everyone to embrace the joy and traditions that define the holiday season.
"I want to express my sincere gratitude to everyone involved in making this event a resounding success," said Mainor. "It serves as a testament to what can be achieved when we come together for a shared cause. As we continue our journey at UCC, let us carry this spirit of giving into every season, creating a lasting impact in the lives of those we are privileged to serve."
UCC's Friendsgiving this year was made possible by the generous support of several organizations, including the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, Saint James Health, the state Department of Health, United Way of Greater Newark, North Jersey Community Research Initiative, FedEx, the Newark Vulcan Pioneers, Peoples Choice Lounge, Newark Centers of Hope, Essex County, the state Office of the Attorney General, and UCC's partner Amerigroup.
As the holiday season unfolds, UCC's commitment to combating hunger and fostering a sense of togetherness shines as a beacon of hope, illuminating the path toward a brighter future for all Newark residents. For more information about UCC and its initiatives, visit/click HERE.