It feels good to give; just ask any volunteer for a good cause.
It’s especially rewarding however, when you are coming from a place where your confidence might be shaken and a chance to give back gives you something as well.
Just ask the clients at Success Rehabilitation, a center that provides a residential and out-patient neuro-rehabilitation program for people who have acquired traumatic brain injury. Their recent contribution supplied TASK with 200 to-go meals – currently the only way folks who come to the soup kitchen can get a meal in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amid stay-at-home orders and telehealth visits, the program’s clients needed something to lift their spirits. That’s when Joanne Tangney, co-founder and CEO of the Bucks County, Pa.-based center, thought of the soup kitchen.
“I knew that TASK couldn’t serve food from its dining room because of the closings made necessary by the pandemic,” explained Tangney who joined the TASK Board of Trustees a year ago. “So, I thought putting together bags of food for TASK would be a way for our clients to give back to the community and feel they are a contributing member of society even though they have a serious brain injury.”
Distributed on Friday with the intention of helping patrons get through the weekend, the much-need meals included manufacturer-sealed tuna salad, ready-made pasta and sauce, crackers, juice boxes, a granola bar, eating utensils, condiments, and a bag of potato chips or pretzels. As many people find themselves in need of the soup kitchen’s food service, donations of meals-to-go have become essential in aiding TASK in its mission to feed as many as it can. Since the soup kitchen closed its dining room on March 16, nearly 58,000 to-go meals have been served to the hundreds of people who come to its front door. The center’s donation and others like it help supplement the hot to-go meals TASK serves every weekday from its kitchen.
While not on-site to see first-hand the effects of their generosity, the client volunteers from Success Rehabilitation certainly understood the potential impact their gift could make. A social worker by training, Tangney, explained her clients come from varying backgrounds, ranging from those who sustained their brain injuries from drug and alcohol abuse to those with injuries that are the result of an accident. She added that some were doctors, nurses and professionals from other industries before they came to the rehabilitation program, and while they might remember their lives up until the day of their injury, they cannot recall what they had for breakfast on any given day. That daily struggle of living with this “silent injury,” she said, “can cause a lot of depression,” but shifting that energy to a positive activity “can provide a purpose in their lives.”
“A couple of our clients really thrived on the TASK activity,” Tangney said, her voice rising with excitement as she recalled the day. “We have one gentleman who came to us from a correctional facility; you could see that he knew he was helping others. He was extremely engaged in the activity and stayed throughout the project.”
Tangney added that this client, along with 15 others and 10 staff members who participated, watched a video on food insecurity and learned a bit about TASK before assembling the bags.
“His reaction, and the positive response from other clients, demonstrated how this was a really rewarding experience for all our clients.”
TASK meals are available to anyone – no questions asked. Meals-to-go can be picked up Monday-Friday, 10:30am-2pm at the soup kitchen’s main hub: 72 ½ Escher Street in Trenton’s north ward.
If you want to donate food to TASK please give us a call at (609) 695-5456 or visit our website for more information at TRENTONSOUPKITCHEN.ORG Additionally, click here for our guidelines on donating food safely.
In lieu of food, please consider a financial contribution that will help TASK buy food at bulk rate.