Courtesy of NJ.com:
By: Felix Alarcon
Mariam Abdelseed stands outside the doors of the H.I.G.H.W.A.Y.S. (Helping Individuals Gain Hope Will Always Yield Success) with three other women, a child in a stroller and recycled yellow plastic shopping bags in hand. She is one of many Bayonne residents who will brace the cold this holiday season and wat in line for food.
“I come here every two weeks to get food for my kids,” said Abdelseed. She has three children, 9, 7, and 3 years old.
Abdelseed has been coming twice a month, for the last three months, at 1:30 p.m., the starting time for the pantry’s food distribution.
“I get food and sometimes clothing for my kids, here,” said Abdelseed.
The Rev. Rose Cohen Hassan, manager of social services, has worked with H.I.G.H.W.A.Y.S. for two and a half years.
“Last year we helped 180 families and this year we have 280 registered,” she said.
Registration for their Thanksgiving Dinner and Christmas Toys program has reached capacity. The program provides families with a Thanksgiving turkey and canned foods to go along with the meal. The Christmas Toys program provides children from low-income families with a few gifts for the holidays.
“All the families have registered for the program,” said Hassan.
There has been a sharp increase in families relying on the food pantry’s help but Hassan said, “We’ve been blessed. The community has been overwhelmingly good with donations.”
Hassan has seen her clients affected by the cut in funds to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
“We’ve had people not have enough money to buy their groceries,” said Hassan.
On Nov. 1, a temporary spending boost for SNAP was halted, resulting in cuts of $5 billion in food aid, affecting roughly 47 million Americans.
“We’ve asked them to come twice a month,” said Hassan, due to limited supply.
Hassan said that H.I.G.H.W.A.Y.S. still needs donations of turkeys, canned yams and foods that are Thanksgiving related.
“Christmas is close and we’re in desperate need of toys for children and teens. We’re always short of supply,” said Hassan.
Hassan said financial donations are welcome and checks can be dropped off or mailed to 184 Hobart Ave, Bayonne, NJ 07002.