NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ–As an offshoot of Livingston Avenue’s Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple, the Anshe Emeth Community Development Corporation (AECDC) is a faith-based organization that serves Middlesex County residents of all religions, genders, and races.

It has an incredibly diverse range of programs, many of which benefit babies and young children.

One such program is B.E.S.T., or Baby Equipment for Safety and Trust, which allows young families to borrow baby equipment like car seats, strollers, high chairs, and cribs. It also provides families with clothing, infant toiletries, blankets, and the like.

Another is B.F.E.D. (Baby Formula and Emergency Diapers), which provides referred families with a week’s worth of diapers and formula appropriate for the infant.

According to AECDC’s website, food stamps and WIC do not cover the cost of diapers or certain types of formula. Lack of access to those necessities has far-reaching effects.

For instance, children who are fed formula that is not suited for them, or watered-down formula, can suffer malnutrition, or bowel, skin, or respiratory issues.

Another example is diapers: if parents cannot provide a steady supply of diapers, they cannot access daycare, making them less likely to be able to go to work or attend school. In 2012-2013, AECDC provided over 84,000 diapers to 565 families serving 833 children.

According to their website, the AECDC has three goals.

  • to provide free or low-cost services for people in need of durable medical equipment, baby equipment and supplies, and health insurance information.
  • to provide information, referral, advocacy and follow-up for clients needing additional services, such as food, housing, employment, legal aid.
  • to collaborate with other community agencies, public and private, seeking information, networking opportunities, and creating new programs.

AECDC has one full-time program director, Norka Torres, and a number of part-time staffers.

As we reported, the organization worked to educate parents about a new law regarding the use of car seats for kids in 2015.

Other programs include:

  • H.E.L.P. (the Health Equipment Loan Program).
  • I.O.H.I.O. (Information on Health Insurance Options).
  • the AECDC Food Funnel. AECDC does not distribute food itself, but it brings collected food to existing pantries in the community.
  • A.S.K. (Additional Services for Clients). This is a catch-all program that provides referrals, advocacy, and assistance for clients with issues like housing that do not fit into another AECDC program.

In 2014-2015, the IOHIO, ASK, and HELP programs received 675 requests and fulfilled 95% of them. The program runs on less than $40,000 a year.

AECDC is currently supported by the following entities:

  • Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple
  • The Andersen Corporate Foundation
  • Gannett Foundation
  • The Karma Foundation
  • The Magyar Bank Foundation
  • Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders
  • The NJ Office of Faith-Based Initiatives
  • The Rutgers Community Health Foundation
  • State Farm Companies Foundation
  • The United Way of Central Jersey