Many people don’t know that Denville has a food pantry or that the Social Services Department of Town Hall is more than just the food pantry. We chatted with Stephen Dublanica recently to get to know more about what Social Services does and how you can become involved and help.
What is your role with Social Services?
I look at myself as the “generosity coordinator” for the Township: helping our citizens, faith communities, businesses and civic groups to channel their giving spirit in the most appropriate and efficient way possible.
A lot of people see the Food Pantry as just food, but you help in many other ways. Can you share some?
In addition to nutritional assistance, Denville Social Services also helps clients with: rental and energy assistance, summer recreation programs for children, school lunch programs, sponsoring Energy Assistance Day Programs, referring people to county and Federal services, assisting Denville’s seniors and sponsoring school supply, Thanksgiving, and Toy Drives in addition to our very popular Adopt-a-Family Program during the holidays.
How have the food pantry’s needs changed over the past few years?
Our basic needs haven’t really changed but the events of the past few years demanded that we be flexible and creative in how we provide services to our clients—and volunteers have always been essential to the Food Pantry’s success!
Besides donating food, how else can people help or get involved?
When we have a special need for volunteers – such as setting up for Toy Night—I will advertise on the “Friends of Denville Social Services” Facebook page (facebook.com/friendsdss). But we also need a cadre of volunteers to assist us with shoveling out seniors’ driveways in the winter or doing light yardwork the rest of the year. And the Meals on Wheels Program could always use new drivers! We are also always grateful for financial donations, since those funds help us buy fresh meat and dairy products for the pantry. Checks can be made out to “Denville Social Services” and mailed to 1 St. Mary’s Place, Denville, NJ 07834.
What are your biggest ongoing needs at the food pantry?
We always need food and current needs are posted on our Facebook page. But we are always running short of: laundry detergent, dish soap, cleaning products, paper towels, facial tissues, tampons, shaving cream, razors, toothbrushes and toothpaste, and deodorant. SNAP benefits do not cover non-food items and, if we can help our clients with those items, that allows them to stretch their food budget further.
How can people donate food to the food pantry? Do you accept gift cards too?
Non-perishable food can left in the collection bin located in the vestibule of Township Hall. If wishing to donate perishable items, it’s best to call Social Services at (973) 625-8300 ext. 269 to schedule a drop off time. We do indeed accept gift cards! Donations of Shoprite, Acme, and Aldi’s gift cards are greatly appreciated.
Denville Social Services
1 Saint Mary’s Pl, Denville, NJ