The money couldn’t have come at a better time.
A gala was held on May 21 for Palisades Emergency Residence Corporation – which runs a homeless shelter in Union City and sliding-scale health services throughout Hudson County – raising $50,000, according to Executive Director Emory Edwards. “After Hurricane Sandy, we’ve seen a 25 percent increase in people looking for services,” Edwards said. This includes serving 1,000 more meals each month than usual, and 2,000 more in January.
Mayor Gerald Drasheff of Guttenberg, Mayor Nicholas Sacco of North Bergen, and Mayor Richard Turner of Weehawken attended and lent their support, according to Edwards.
The $50,000 figure was $10,000 more than the gala usually raises, according to Edwards.
In 2012, PERC provided nearly 20,000 nights of shelter to men, women and families; more than 80,000 meals through their soup kitchen; and groceries for 12,000 people through its weekly food pantry.
“For more than 30 years, PERC has been providing hope and help to our neighbors in need.” – Executive Director Emory Edwards
Shelter, soup kitchen, food pantry
PERC is a Hudson County nonprofit organization based in Union City that offers emergency shelter to individuals and families, a soup kitchen, a food pantry, permanent housing for chronically homeless individuals, and other community services.
Drasheff contacted PERC for help when his town had a building collapse a few years ago, and 30 families were displaced. The organization responded with food for the victims.
“We were able to bring a bunch of things down to our residents staying in a hotel,” Drasheff said. “I think they provide great services. “They’re great people.”
Palisades President Bruce J. Markowitz honored
At the event, Bruce J. Markowitz, president and CEO of Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, was honored with the organization’s prestigious You Change Lives -- Community Leadership Award. PERC Board members and representatives presented the award to Markowitz.
“The achievement award recognizes Markowitz for his leadership and commitment to sustainable healthcare systems for our community’s most fragile residents,” Edwards said.
“I am honored to accept PERC’s You Change Lives - Community Leadership Award on behalf of the Palisades Medical Center employees, medical staff, volunteers and community supporters who dedicate their lives to caring for the health and well being of those in need of care and support,” said Markowitz. “At Palisades Medical Center, we are proud to be longtime partners with PERC – an amazing organization that does so much to change lives and strengthen our local communities.”
Palisades Medical Center is located in North Bergen and serves a population of 400,000 in Hudson and southern Bergen counties. The non-profit medical center is affiliated with the Hackensack University Health Network.
Finding a place to live
One of the figures PERC officials are most proud of is their 45 percent success rate in moving people from their 40-bed shelter in Union City to a place they can call their own.
“We work really hard to get people into permanent housing,” Edwards said. “That’s our goal. Our best days are when people are moving out.”
Local business leaders and officials
The event united more than 250 business leaders, public officials and local residents. All proceeds from the Annual Gala support PERC’s mission to provide food, shelter and services for low-income families.
“For more than 30 years, PERC has been providing hope and help to our neighbors in need,” Edwards said.
How you can help
Those interested in assisting the organization’s mission can do so any time by making a contribution. They can go to the group’s website, www.percshelter.org. All money raised will go directly toward PERC’s mission to provide food, shelter and services for low-income families.
They can also volunteer, by calling the office at 201-348-8150. Even with 7,000 volunteer hours last year, PERC could use more.
“We could use more volunteers each month to serve dinner or work the food pantry,” Edwards said. “Being a small organization, we have are limited in terms of resources. Volunteers are our lifeline.”
Other ways to reach PERC are by email, firstname.lastname@example.org or in person, 108 36th St., Union City, NJ 07087.
Joseph Passantino may be reached at JoePass@hudsonreporter.com.