County gets $428K for food, shelter programs

County gets $428K for
food, shelter programs

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will award Middlesex County $427,776 to supplement area emergency food and shelter programs.

The funds are appropriated by Congress to help expand the capacity of food and shelter programs in high-need areas throughout the United States. The 2004 award is nearly 20 percent higher than the 2003 allocation.

"A local board made up of representatives from federally mandated nonprofit and government agencies, as well as community volunteers will decide how the funds awarded to Middlesex County are to be distributed to the local agencies," said Gloria Aftanski, president and chief professional officer of United Way of Central Jersey, Milltown. "United Way is proud to take part in the process of determining agency eligibility and dispersement of the funds."

In the past, Middlesex County has allocated such funds to organizations including Catholic Charities, Elijah’s Promise, Jewish Family and Vocational Services, the Salvation Army and Women Aware. Those agencies were responsible for providing meals, emergency shelter, housing and utility assistance.

Aftanski urged any public or private voluntary agencies interested in obtaining an application for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program funds to contact her office at (732) 247-3727, ext. 23.

Special emphasis will be given to identification of, and assistance to the elderly, families with children, Native Americans, veterans and the mentally and physically handicapped.

Applications must be submitted no later than noon Jan. 28.

Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted.

United Way of Central Jersey serves all of Middlesex County and Franklin Township in Somerset County. The nonprofit group was organized in 1930 and supports and provides funding for 120 social service and healthcare programs. Funds raised are distributed to diverse programs that meet the needs of pre-schoolers, youth and teens, adults and senior citizens.