By Chelsey Johnstone
This holiday season, the Public Service Enterprise Group Foundation (PSEG) is donating $1.5 million to 14 organizations throughout the New Jersey and Long Island service territories that provide help to thousands of individuals and families who have struggled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The nonprofit organizations receiving these contributions address needs that have been affected by the pandemic including food insecurity, unemployment, mental and physical health and poverty. In addition, the gifts will be providing support for ongoing issues (besides COVID-19) such as substance abuse, domestic violence and child neglect.
The 14 organizations receiving the donations include Trenton’s own Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK); Association for Mental Health & Wellness of Ronkonkoma, NY; Cathedral Soup Kitchen of Camden, NJ; Community FoodBank of New Jersey of Hillside, NJ; Eva’s Village of Paterson, NJ; Family Service League of Huntington, NY; Food Bank of South Jersey of Pennsauken, NJ; HomeFront of Ewing, NJ; Imagine a Center for Coping with Loss of Mountainside, NJ; Island Harvest of Bethpage, NY; Mental Health Association of Morris and Essex of Montclair, NJ; Newark Working Kitchens of Newark, NJ; Oasis – A Haven for Women and Children of Paterson, NJ; and Youth Consultation Services Inc., Hackensack, N.J.
According to HomeFront Executive Director Connie Mercer, whose mission is to end homelessness in central New Jersey, the unannounced donation came during a much-needed time period. She said, “The holidays are typically one of the busiest times of the year for organizations like HomeFront, and the need is even greater this year due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
She continued, “This surprise donation from PSEG and the PSEG Foundation comes at the time when our need is greatest. We’re so grateful for the support that companies like PSEG provide — through funding and volunteerism — all year-round. We couldn’t do this without them.”
Other organizations receiving the grant have expressed their gratitude towards PSEG for their generous donations. “We are so grateful for PSEG’s support and grant,” said Mary Robinson, executive director and founder of Mountainside and Newark, N.J.-based Imagine a Center for Coping with Loss. “The Imagine staff and our amazing volunteers are passionate about supporting families coping with traumatic loss and life-altering situations. There is a pandemic of grief right now and the need for support is so great.”
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, PSEG and the PSEG Foundation have now committed $5 million in foundation and corporate giving initiatives. In addition to this months $1.5 million contribution to community organizations, the company and its foundation announced a $2.5 million commitment to pandemic relief organizations in April and the $1 million Powering Equity and Social Justice Initiative in June.
“It is our privilege to be able to support community organizations that are providing much-needed assistance to countless families and communities who are facing enormous hardship because of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Rick Thigpen, PSEG’s senior vice president for Corporate Citizenship and chairman of the PSEG Foundation. “In the spirit of the season, we’re proud to make these Community Gifts on behalf of our employees across New Jersey and New York, and support these organizations that are helping to make things better for people throughout the many diverse communities we serve.”
The PSEG Community Gifts are especially meaningful for PSEG’s 13,000 employees as well. “The holiday season is traditionally a time for fellowship – not only with our families, but also a time to celebrate with neighbors, coworkers and friends,” said Calvin Ledford Jr., president of the PSEG Foundation and senior director for Corporate Social Responsibility. “Sadly, many traditions have suffered in 2020 – as have the communities we operate in – due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are honored to undertake this act of citizenship with support to these charitable organizations so that we can inspire hope for a brighter 2021.”