Across the country, most charitable organizations see a significant drop in donations and volunteering during summer months while the need increases during this time. Children are out of school and the weather heats up, creating a stronger demand for resources like food, hydration, and youth activities. We’ve rounded up ways to give back throughout the summer in Essex County. Read on to find one-off events and ongoing opportunities to connect with the community.
Jersey Cares School Supply Drive | 290 West Mount Pleasant Avenue, Livingston
Monday, June 5th – Monday, August 21st, 2023
Jersey Cares runs a summer-long school supply drive to benefit students in the community. Individuals and businesses can sign up to be a collection site to gather donations of new items like pencils, pens, notebooks, rulers, glue, book covers, and more. Donations can be dropped off during Jersey Cares’ business hours until August 21st or at one of the public collection sites listed on the website. Donations can also be made through the Amazon Wish List here. To learn more about Jersey Cares and how to get involved in the school supply drive, click here.
The International Girls Academy Steps Challenge | 475 Bloomfield Avenue, Verona
Monday, June 19th, 2023
Join The International Girls Academy for the Annual Steps Challenge. This event will raise awareness for The International Girls Academy with the theme “The Future is Us.” The event will be held at Verona Park in Verona, NJ. To learn more about the organization and the event, check out the Instagram page @theinternationalgirlsacademy.
Volunteer Lawyers for Justice Annual Golf Outing + Summer Soiree | 713 Passaic Avenue, West Caldwell
Tuesday, June 20th, 2023
The Volunteer Lawyers for Justice ensures access to justice for those experiencing poverty. To make this possible, VLJ is hosting its Annual Golf Outing & Summer Soiree. Registration will begin on June 20th at 10:30AM at the Mountain Ridge Country Club with the Summer Soiree happening from 5PM-8PM. To learn more about the event and how to get involved, click here.
MEND Virtual Town Hall | Online
Thursday, June 22nd, 2023
Meeting Essential Needs With Dignity, or MEND, is a hunger relief program based in Essex County. The organization is working toward achieving health equity and achieving system-wide changes. The Virtual Town Hall meeting will be held online at 7PM and will provide participants with more information about the organization and will provide more information on ways to get involved with the organization. To learn more and to get login details, click here.
Family Promise of Essex County 5K | 475 Bloomfield Avenue, Verona
Saturday, June 24th, 2023
Join Family Promise of Essex County for its Annual 5K. Family Promise helps homeless and at-risk families become more self-sufficient through various support programs and by providing resources. Space is available to participate as a runner or walker. Sponsorship opportunities for the race are also available. To learn more and to register, click here.
MEND’s 10Ks in 10 Days | Throughout Essex County
Friday, July 7th – Sunday, July 16th, 2023
Join MEND in fighting food insecurity by participating in 10Ks in 10 days. Participants can choose to run, walk, skip, bike, etc across a series of ten days. Participation is $10 for access to the event or $30 for access and a t-shirt. Additional exercise classes are lined up throughout the county for further participation. To learn more and to register, click here.
NCJW Back to School Store | 70 South Orange Avenue, Livingston
Friday, July 30th, 2023
Join the National Council of Jewish Women for the 15th Annual Back to School Store. The Back to School Store benefits Essex County children who would otherwise start the year off without supplies. Sponsors and volunteers are needed to make this event a success. To learn more and to sign up to support, click here.
National Night Out | Throughout Essex County
Tuesday, August 2nd, 2023
The first Tuesday in August is celebrated as National Night Out across the country to build camaraderie between the police force and community members. Bringing the community and police force together under positive circumstances builds trust between the two parties and allows for better community building. National Night Out events will take place throughout Essex County with locations being announced over the summer. To learn more about how to get involved in the event and to attend, click here.
Boys + Girls Club of Newark 5K to Wellness | Park Avenue + Lake Street, Newark
Saturday, September 16th, 2023
Participants can help the Boys + Girls Club of Newark move one step closer to a healthier community by participating in the 5K to Wellness in September. The 5K will be held at Branch Brook Park in Newark. Registration for runners is $30.00 and registration is open now. Participants will receive a race t-shirt and a finisher medal. To learn more and to register, click here.
Ongoing Volunteer Opportunities
ANSWERS Moving Forward Inc. | 712 Springfield Avenue, Newark
ANSWERS Moving Forward (AMF) is a non-profit organization created to support men in need of temporary shelter. The organization works toward re-entry to society while providing a clean, safe environment. AMF is always in need of donations to support its guests. Items most needed include clothing and toiletries. To organize a donation drop-off or to learn more, email A.MovingForward@ymail.com.
Bethany Baptist Church Food Pantry | 275 W. Market Street, Newark + 58 Hartford Street, Newark
Every Tuesday and Thursday from 11AM-1PM the Bethany Baptist Church Food Pantry is open to the community. Volunteers are needed to support. Learn more here.
Blessed Sacrament Pantry | 19 Van Ness Place, Newark
For over 28 years pantry manager Helen Brooks has been committed to helping students in her classroom beat hunger one bowl of cereal at a time. Today the pantry is able to provide even more resources than just food, such as toiletries, diapers, and clothes. Volunteers are needed to work alongside Ms. Brooks to ensure the community in need receives the donated items. Learn more here.
Broadway House for Continuing Care | 298 Broadway, Newark
Broadway House offers comprehensive support for those with acute illness or injury. Its program for those living with HIV/AIDS has been nationally recognized. Volunteers are needed to help guests of Broadway House socialize by playing games, mentoring, and just spending quality time. An application is needed to be a volunteer. Learn more here.
Calvary Baptist Church Food Pantry | 66 South Grove Street, East Orange
The Calvary Baptist Church has partnered with the Community Food Bank of New Jersey to service the East Orange area. On Tuesdays and Saturdays, hot meals and non-perishables are distributed to any who are in need. Volunteer opportunities are available during this time. Learn more here.
Church of the Eternal God | 190 Highland Avenue, Newark
On the second Saturday of every month, the Church of the Eternal God hosts its food pantry. The community can come for food. Delivery of food is available upon request. Volunteers are needed for food distribution and delivery. Learn more here.
Covenant House | 330 Washington Street, Newark
The Covenant House supports at-risk youth from homelessness and human trafficking. Volunteers are needed to spend time with the youth. Most volunteer positions are in two-hour shifts with a three-month commitment of coming weekly or bi-weekly. The most immediate volunteer needs are listed on the organization’s site. Learn more here.
First Hopewell Baptist Church Food Pantry | 525 Orange Street, Newark
In partnership with over 20 other food pantries, the First Hopewell Baptist Church hosts a food pantry for those in need. Volunteers are welcome to support the effort or even host their own food drives to collect items in need. Learn more here.
First Seventh Day Adventist Church | 15 Elmwood Avenue, Montclair
On the second and last Sunday of every month, the First Seventh Day Adventist Church food pantry is open to the public. From noon to 5PM, guests can come to receive food if in need. Learn more here.
Franciscan Charities–St. Ann’s | 212 Hunterdon Street, Newark
Every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 11AM-2PM, meals and snack bags are distributed to the community. Volunteers are needed to help pack and distribute the bags. Franciscan Charities is known as a staple in the community and often allows for relationship-building between the volunteers and the clients. Learn more here.
Hombres y Mujers De Valor Par | 347 6th Avenue, Newark
Every Saturday from 12PM-3PM Hombres y Mujeres De Valor Par hosts its food pantry. Volunteers are needed to support. Learn more here.
House of Love Kitchen/Pantry | 589-595 Central Avenue, Newark
The House of Love Kitchen/Pantry is run mostly by the support of volunteers. Those in the community who have spent time giving back to House of Love in various ways share the blessings they have felt while serving. The kitchen is open on Tuesdays from 5PM-8PM and the food pantry is open every fourth Tuesday. Learn more here.
Human Needs Food Pantry | 9 Label Street, Montclair
The Human Needs Food Pantry is always in need of volunteers to serve the community. Volunteers are needed to pack fruits and vegetables, pick up food from suppliers, sort donated items, and deliver food to homebound clients. Those interested in volunteering should fill out the interest form here. In addition to volunteering, individuals can host a drive for needed items. For more information on how to start a drive, click here.
Inner City Emerg (Joi’s Angels) | 114 South Arlington Avenue, East Orange
Youth, food, housing, and life essentials are the core offerings of Joi’s Angels. The organization provides various resources for the community of all ages and is always looking for support. They are currently looking for public-minded volunteers who “aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty”. Learn more here.
Interfaith Food Pantry of the Oranges | 105 Main Street, Orange
The Interfaith Food Pantry of the Oranges provides resources such as food, clothing, period supplies, diapers, toiletries, clothes, and more to those in emergency need. Volunteers are asked to sign a COVID-19 waiver which can be found on the organization’s site before volunteering. Learn more here.
Isaiah House | 238 North Munn Avenue
Isaiah House has been providing resources to the community at large such as food distribution, HIV/AIDS program, shelter, community development, and more. Donations of food, cleaning supplies, technology, and trash bags are always welcome. Volunteer opportunities are available. Learn more here.
Little Zion U.A.M.E. Church Food Pantry | 154 Stephens Street, Belleville
Every third and fourth Saturday of the month volunteers are needed at 10AM to help with food distribution to the community. Those in need are welcome to come to receive perishable and non-perishable food items. Donations of food are also welcome. Learn more here.
Love of Jesus Ministries Food Pantry | 448 Highland Avenue, Orange
Volunteers are always needed and greatly appreciated at the Love of Jesus Ministries Food Pantry. The pantry is taking donations and help is needed to distribute and organize food. Learn more here.
Nutley Family Service Bureau | 169 Chestnut Street, Nutley
Nutley Family Service offers resources to those in need to help enhance family life. Services such as grocery delivery for seniors, nutrition education, clothing resources, and more. Volunteers are needed to help this organization run. Volunteer orientations are held every second Monday and third Tuesday. Learn more here.
Roseville Presbyterian Church Food Pantry | 36 Roseville Avenue, Newark
Every second Monday of the month the Roseville Presbyterian Church Food Pantry distributes groceries. All patrons are welcome. Donations and help for the pantry are accepted. Learn more here.
Salem Seventh Day Adventist | 10 South Oraton Parkway, East Orange
Every second and fourth Thursday of the month the Salem Seventh Day Adventist hosts its food pantry. Guests can come from 9AM-12PM for food. Learn more here.
Salvation Army | 430 Main Street, East Orange
The Salvation Army has no shortage of volunteer opportunities. In Essex County specifically, opportunities to field calls for the organization, fill out local food vendor forms, create client referral packages, and more. The opportunity allows for a chance to meet others as volunteers work in tandem with 1-2 others at the same time. Learn more here.
Toni’s Kitchen at St. Luke’s Church | 73 South Fullerton Avenue, Montclair
Food prep, serving, bagging, driving, food delivery, and pickups are needed at Toni’s Kitchen at St. Luke’s Church. Walk-in volunteers are not welcome, please pre-register online before volunteering. Learn more here.
Toussaint Food Pantry | 528 Martin Luther King Boulevard, Newark
For the past 23 years, the Toussaint Food Pantry has been serving the community of Newark. Today, their services reach over 300 families totaling over 700 people monthly. The pantry is open every Saturday from 9AM-11AM. Volunteers are needed for the distribution and organization of food. Learn more here.
The Apostles House | 18-24 Grant Street, Newark
The Apostles House is dedicated to providing life resources to women, children, and at-risk families in Essex County. Their mission is to end homelessness while encouraging self-sufficiency and a great quality of life. Volunteers are welcome to help with many of the services at the shelter such as food and clothing distribution, reading to the guests, teaching life skills workshops, and more. Learn more here.
United Community Corporation | 933 South 17th Street, Newark
The mission of United Community Corporation is to service low-income, disadvantaged, and/or at-risk individuals in the community. This organization works with AmeriCorps VISTA to staff its volunteers. Information on becoming a VISTA can be found on their site. Learn more here.
Zion United Church Food Pantry | 17 Alexander Street, Newark
The Zion United Church has a food pantry and soup kitchen in operation. Every Friday at 5PM those in need in the community can come to receive food. The pantry asks that guests call ahead if they are in need. Learn more here.