The Paterson-based charity, Eva's Village, will celebrate their 30th anniversary this spring. The non-profit has been a community pillar, aiding those in need with a variety of services.

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"Eva's Village has a mission and that is to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, treat the addicted, and provide medical and dental care to the poor," explains Executive Director Marie Reger.

It was formed in 1982 by Msgr. Vincent Puma as Eva's Kitchen, then serving around 30 people in Paterson. The growth since then has been nothing short of remarkable.

"Over the past 30 years we've grown from a simple soup kitchen to what is now a comprehensive anti-poverty program that includes over 14 integrated programs," Reger says.

Eva's Village dishes out about 400 meals a day in their soup kitchen now, with thousands being reached comprehensively a year through the sum of all of their programs.

The charity operates on close to an 8 million dollar budget annually, with 60% coming from government funding and about 40% from donations. While Eva's Village continues to grow and serve, they still face the daily hardship of raising money in the current tough economic climate.

"We had people who used to be able to send us a check every month who are no longer able to," said Reger.

That reality is compounded by a rising number of people seeking help from the charity.

"The need for people receiving help from us has grown significantly," she explains, "We're serving 20 percent more people in our kitchen today than we did 2-3 years ago."

Eva's Village describes their mission as providing these programs while preserving and enhancing the dignity of the individual, and also being a place "Where Hope Begins."

Learn more about the charity, and how you can help by visiting the Eva's Village website.



First Presbyterian Chuch of Metuchen

Teenage members of the First Presbyterian Church of Metuchen are joining the fight against hunger. Joining the efforts of hundreds of thousands of young people throughout the nation, the teens will particpate in World Vision's 30 Hour Famine at the end of February. By going without food, the teens will get a taste of what the world's poorest children and families face every day. In addition to the famine, the church will also be collecting food donations for the church's food pantry, which currently feeds about 50 area families a month. To learn more, click here

Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and IHOP Restaurants

Do you like pancakes? February 28 is National Pancake Day. To help celebrate, IHOP restaurants throughout New Jersey will be offering a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes to its customers. In return, customers will be asked to donate money to the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals' program at The Children's of Philadelphia. Last year, more than $2.5 million to children's charities. This year, they are hoping to raise $2.7 million. To learn more, click here