For more than 42 years, Arm In Arm (formerly Crisis Ministry of Mercer County) has been working hard to connect people to essential resources. We recently spoke with Maureen Hunt, chief development officer for Arm In Arm.
How long has Arm In Arm been active in Princeton?
Arm In Arm has been active in Princeton for almost 42 years. Originally The Crisis Ministry, we were founded in 1980 by the lay and clergy leadership of Nassau Presbyterian Church and Trinity Episcopal Church in Princeton as a community response to the economic hardships brought about by the nationwide recession of the time. We changed our name to Arm In Arm in September, 2016, to reflect our positive partnerships in the community and the collaborative spirit that fuels all we do.
What is your primary area of focus?
Our primary areas of focus are hunger, housing and work. We operate three food pantries: Nassau Presbyterian Church (since 1980), 123 East Hanover Street (since 2001), and 48 Hudson Street (since 2017, relocated from nearby locations established 2011); and serve low-income individuals and families in Mercer County with well-established programs that address hunger prevention and food security, homelessness prevention and housing stability, workforce development and driver’s license restoration. Arm In Arm is a place where our community comes together to make sure we all have the basic needs of food and shelter and, as possible, the livelihood to maintain them.
How does your mission align with the library’s?
Arm In Arm believes it takes a whole community to help everyone thrive and we believe that when everyone is thriving we all benefit. Arm In Arm’s tagline is “better together” and this closely aligns with the library’s mission of uniting everyone in the diverse community.
With whom do you work most in the community?
Because we believe it takes our whole community to thrive, we engage many different individuals and groups to help us deliver our mission. We work with hundreds of volunteers as well as congregations, corporations, and foundations for their support and partnership. We also partner with many different community organizations to ensure that our clients are connected to resources that can help them.
What is something that you do that people might not know about?
A driver’s license can often be the key to finding and maintaining stable employment. We have a driver’s license restoration program called License to Succeed that provides license restoration assistance. Arm In Arm works with clients, providing administrative assistance and partial aid to jumpstart and supplement clients’ stake in paying fines and reinstatement fees and to establish manageable payment plans. With driver’s licenses restored and fines and fees resolved, adults are freed from relying on restrictive bus routes to travel between work and child care and can qualify for jobs in more fields of employment.
Is there any project or event that you are particularly excited about at the moment?
We are in the process of raising funds to purchase a refrigerated van which will help us to reach more pockets of need in the community with fresher, nutritious food.
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