April 16, 2019 Share

TASK Honors Larry Apperson of Princeton United Methodist Church

Larry Apperson (right) receives the Chuck Inman Memorial Award from Paul Jensen, the kitchen and food services manager from Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK). The annual award honors an individual who has made a significant impact in feeding hungry people in Mercer County. Apperson launched Princeton Cornerstone Community Kitchen, a TASK satellite that serves over 100 meals each week at Princeton United Methodist Church. Some come for the food, some for the fellowship, all are graciously served a hot meal complete with china plates, decorated tables, and a piano player in the background.

The Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK) honored Larry Apperson and Congregation Beth Chaim with addressing the hunger problem in Mercer County. On April 13 Apperson received the Chuck Inman Memorial Award, presented annually to an individual who has made a significant impact in feeding hungry people. Seven years ago, Apperson launched Princeton Cornerstone Community Kitchen (PCCK) at Princeton United Methodist Church (PrincetonUMC), and it serves over 100 meals each week, on an unconditional, no-questions asked basis. “Larry was honored for his long-standing service at TASK and for helping set up the very effective satellite at Princeton United Methodist Church,” says Charlie Orth, volunteer and patron services coordinator at TASK.

Congregation Beth Chaim, a synagogue in West Windsor, received TASK’s Community Service Award. “Their volunteer group has been a regular, enthusiastic, and generous group for decades. They never fail to provide donations on their visits and many of the members provide financial support as well,” says Orth.

TASK serves those who are hungry in the Trenton area and offers programs to promote self-sufficiency and improve the quality of life of its patrons. Princeton’s Cornerstone Community Kitchen, located at the corner of Nassau Street and Vandeventer Avenue, is one of the 16 satellites. “TASK served over 300,000 meals last year and we are proud of the help and commitment of our partners such as at Princeton United Methodist Church,” says Orth. “It’s leaders like Larry who make change happen.”

Volunteers have donated a staggering 20,000 hours since Cornerstone launched in June 2012. Cornerstone’s opening on Wednesday night, and its related offerings, require help from some 30 people, including those from Princeton University, the Jewish Center of Princeton, and other faith communities. Community members can also sign up online for ‘one-time’ service. “I wanted to create a place where people could go to do the good things they deep down feel they should be doing anyway,” says Apperson. “Volunteering would be easy, no homework, just come and do it.”

On March 6, 2019, Cornerstone recorded its 30,000th-meal served. Some come for the food, some for the fellowship, all are graciously served a hot meal complete with china plates, silverware, decorated tables, and a piano player in the background.

In addition, the Clothing Store operates in a spacious, dedicated room and shares the same Wednesday 5 – 6:30 p.m. hours of operation. Managed by Judith Miller, the store is filled with a wide variety of neatly organized and displayed clothing and household items, where guests take turns shopping in small groups. Store volunteers manage seasonal programs for the children — selecting back to school backpacks, Halloween costumes, and Christmas gifts – carefully selected to match the child’s age and gender.

A significant number of the guests are Hispanic and some speak little if any English. Three years ago, PrincetonUMC member Karen Longo Baldwin, a certified ESL teacher, began teaching English as a Second Language classes that now meet four times weekly.
Cornerstone’s newest offering is Princeton Period Project, a community program to help girls and women who don’t have an easy, reliable, affordable access to feminine hygiene products. These products often take second seat to providing food at the family table. “We have already provided more than 34,950 feminine hygiene products to girls and women in the area,” says Gil Gordon, a member of the Jewish Center of Princeton who is on the Cornerstone board.

For information on Cornerstone Community Kitchen, https://www.princetoncornerstone.org/. For information on PrincetonUMC – a diverse congregation whose members come from many surrounding communities, backgrounds, and faith histories – call 609-924-2613 or visit http://www.princetonumc.org/.

As a 501c3 nonprofit organization, Cornerstone does not aim to deliver a religious message. “We are witnessing to our faith through our actions,” says Apperson.