United Community Corporation will host a Cookies, Coats & Cocoa distribution event on Saturday, February 5, from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. at the Newark Housing Authority’s TREC location (55 Ludlow St, Newark, NJ 07114).
Officials said the event is sponsored by Amerigroup and was postponed from Saturday, January 29, due to the snowstorm.
According to officials, in addition to cookies and hot cocoa being given out in to-go cups and containers, the event will also provide local families and individuals with free groceries and winter coats.
“I love Cookies, Coats and Cocoa because it is an enjoyable event, and it allows us to serve the community with essential items,” Director of Youth, Family & Senior Services Yucleidis Melendez said.
“This event is about so much more than just cookies, coats, and cocoa. We will be providing COVID-19 testing opportunities to learn about services and bring the community together.
We need to continue to serve the community with monthly events because our agency’s goal is to be available and present for the community.”
This will be UCC’s first community event at TREC but will likely not last.
With West Side Park still under construction, UCC and the Newark Housing Authority will be working together to bring these monthly events to the community.
“We did some summer programming at TREC before, but we’re looking at this as a great opportunity to expand our services to a community that we may not have necessarily reached before,” Melendez said.
“This is an opportunity to spread our services to a community outside of the West Ward.”
The event comes a month after UCC served over 350 families around the holidays with its Shop with a Hero campaign and annual Holiday Express community event.
The Cookies, Coats & Cocoa event was made possible thanks to various generous partners. UCC received over 700 coats, and other essentials generously donated from Jersey Cares, Unstoppable Girls, Franciscan Charities at St Ann’s Church, Saydah’s Community Action Center, La Casa de Don Pedro, NJCRI, T.O.Y.A, Outrageous Outreach, Amerigroup and Beauty for Ashes.
The City of Newark will be providing cookies and cocoa for the event.
UCC’s Champion House food pantry will provide groceries for the event thanks to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey and MEND Hunger Relief Network.
MEND also donated emergency packages of essentials for those in need during the winter months.
“Moving into the winter season is always difficult because of the challenges it presents for families and particularly the City’s residents without addresses,” UCC Assistant Director of Community Engagement Alena Minatee said.
“It is a great joy that we have received an abundance of coats and winter gear that will assist UCC in meeting the needs of the community.
We are blessed to have such dedicated partners that work with and assist us in providing essentials to families and individuals in need.”
UCC’s COVID-19 outreach team and youth ambassadors will be present at the event thanks to supporting from Partners In Health and the United Way of Greater Newark.
NJCRI will be on hand to provide vaccines and COVID-19 testing alongside La Casa de Don Pedro, who will also be conducting outreach.
“We saw the number of COVID-19 cases jump during the holidays and this past month,” UCC Director of Community Engagement Richard Greco said.
“We want to do our part to help make COVID-19 vaccines readily available to the community.
We are thankful for funding from Partners in Health and the United Way of Greater Newark to be able to provide outreach for this cause and partnerships with NJCRI and La Casa de Don Pedro to bring vaccines directly to the community.”
While the event will make sure that no one leaves empty-handed, it will also allow for individuals to learn about services that are available to help fill their additional needs and receive help on-sight potentially.
UCC’s Energy Assistance Department will provide essential information to help with utility bill assistance.
UCC’s Housing Assistance team will provide on-site application assistance for anyone behind on rental or mortgage payments.