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About Us

Finding Inspiration in Every Turn

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Our Story

“What are we doing in this community to feed the hungry?”

This was the question raised by June Koch, a Rahway resident, who worshipped at Second Presbyterian Church in Rahway, NJ. From this simple idea, Rahway Food For Friends was born in February 1991.


An invitation was sent out to over 20 churches, and clergy and lay people from all faiths,
Protestant, Catholic and Jewish, responded by attending a meeting to address the issue of
hunger in the community of Rahway. Subsequent meetings, open to all, gradually gave
birth to the idea of providing a free Saturday lunch every other week. Pastor Josephine
Cameron and Elder Dick Talbot of the Second Presbyterian were instrumental in hosting
the weekly Soup kitchen. Volunteers from various churches and organizations came
together to prepare and serve soup and sandwiches. By July the soup kitchen had dropped
the sandwiches and a full course meal was provided every Saturday by volunteers,
which had developed into six alternating Team captains coordinated by our current
Treasurer, Dawn Mandela. Each team purchased, cooked and served the meal.


In 1993 a food pantry distribution Pantry program was started, headed by William Reeves
of the current Episcopal Church Of The Good Shepherd. With this additional program
established, Food For Friends was able to apply to the Community Food Bank of NJ
located in Hillside, New Jersey and become a local food bank. As an agency of the
Community Food Bank we were able to receive free food and buy additional food at
discounted prices thru the USDA and State of NJ hunger programs. Approximately 125
bags were distributed to qualified Rahway families in 1995 By 2011 that number had

grown to 210 bags per month.

By 1999 the volunteers, who operated Food For Friends, realized that the ministry had
grown too large for them to handle the day to day operation and the administration of the
two programs. An interfaith board of directors was formed. The new board of directors
drafted a mission statement: “Feeding the Whole Person”. This would be accomplished
by not only providing food for the body, but satisfy a social hunger as well, and by
providing referral services to feed the mind with knowledge. A ministerial body was later
established with local clergy to help those with a spiritual need and counseling to nourish

the soul.

In 2013 Rahway Food For Friends became an established 501c(3) charity. The new Board of Trustees established new procedures and protocols to match those of the Community Food Bank of New Jersey.  As an agency of the CFBNJ since 1991 the partnership strenthened the organizations capability to provide food, prevent food waste by gleaning, offer nutritional meals and fresh produce on a weekly basis. Food demands increased and funding decreased. 

In 2019 Rahway Food For Friends led and fed through the pandemic with no days off to ensure no person went hungry.  Extended hours and extensive work Rahway Food For Friends provided over 15,000 food packages and meals to those in need. 


Currently, Rahway Food For Friends continues to operate a food pantry, soup kitchen and mobile pantry.  The staff of Rahway Food For Friends remain noble in deed as they serve each person in the community with compassion, care and dignity.  Rahway Food For Friends continues to be a staple in the community with over 35 years of operations and feeding efforts.

Meet The Team

Our Partners

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