Emergency Assistance


The Emergency Assistance program provides emergency food to almost 8,000 families per year, feeding over 17,000 household members. Not only are some of our clients homeless, but our low-income clients also include a significant number of disabled and/or aged persons living on fixed incomes. Clients are referred to this program by numerous Mercer County agencies. Our staff assesses the needs of the entire family. Five days a week we distribute bags of food, according to family size.

Our Purpose:

The Emergency Assistance program’s primary purpose is to provide direct and immediate support and relief to individuals and families in both chronic and temporary crisis. This program assists clients in crisis by providing them with an array of social services:

  • Three to five day supply of nutritious food items, both perishable and non-perishable.
  • As funds are available, utility assistance to prevent shut off or to restore services.
  • Limited financial assistance to those who have no prescription coverage
  • Basic staples for newborns and infants, such as diapers, formula, baby food.
  • Personal hygiene and grooming items, basic household items, and clothing, as available.
  • Referrals to additional services within the community.

Our Success:

In 2016, we served over 8,700 households and distributed over 21,000 bags of food.  At Thanksgiving, 950 families received a Thanksgiving turkey and all the trimmings. For Christmas, 234 families received donated toys and gifts.  Demand for our services continues to increase each year, and we continue to receive more referrals for our services from other social service agencies.

Our Clients:

Many of the households that benefit from the services of the Emergency Assistance Program are families that do not earn enough to be able to afford basic necessities, such as food and housing. Although one or more individuals in the household are working, they still struggle to make ends meet. In addition to families, we also provide assistance to single adults who are on a fixed income, are mentally or physically disabled, or are unable to secure consistent employment.

About one in five families who come to the Guild are Spanish-speaking. Our bilingual caseworker helps to make sure they receive the food, coats, Christmas toys and other assistance that they need. We are grateful to the Princeton Area Community Foundation for its Greater Mercer Grant, which helps to fund this staff position.