CUMAC has been serving the community for over 30 years. It began in the late 1970s, when then Paterson school teacher Hugh Dunlop recruited his church congregation to collect food for his obviously ailing students. As they met that need, a greater need in the city of Paterson became obvious, and a small pantry was born to provide emergency food to the local community. In 1985, CUMAC was incorporated as the Center of United Methodist Aid to the Community Ecumenically Concerned Helping Others (CUMAC/ECHO) – a name meant to show that while we are an urban mission of the United Methodist Church, we serve all people in need without discrimination.
We currently go by CUMAC - the shortened name the community knows us by - but we have grown physically, financially and organizationally in our 30-plus years of operation. Physically, we began in a borrowed church closet and now own our 28,000 square foot facility in downtown Paterson; financially, we expanded our meager start-up budget thirty-fold; and organizationally we developed from a single-purpose, volunteer run group into a multi-service agency with a staff of 21 and hundreds of volunteers donating thousands of hours of work annually.
Unfortunately, unemployment is at an all-time high and working wages simply have not kept up with the cost of living in northern New Jersey, forcing increasingly more people to seek emergency food assistance. As the largest food distribution program in Passaic County, we regularly feed over 3,000 low-income people a month. About 1 in 3 of our clients are children, 1 in 6 are disabled and 1 in 8 are senior citizens. CUMAC's work relies heavily on donations from individuals and groups, and is also made possible by state, county and agency grants, income from our thrift shop and proceeds from fundraising events.
We continue to serve, and we need your support! Click here to learn more.