Rev. Patricia Bruger, Executive Director of CUMAC — the Center of United Methodist Aid to the Community — has been on the front lines of the fight against hunger for over two decades, working tirelessly to raise hunger awareness and serve those in need in New Jersey.
Bruger began her journey as an advocate and leader for the hungry in 1991, when she became only the second paid Executive Director in CUMAC’s history. She didn’t know what to expect from her then part-time position, but she had a vision for CUMAC and the desire to make a difference. With Bruger at the helm, CUMAC has grown over the years from a small food pantry run out of a borrowed church closet in Paterson into a multi-service agency serving over 40,000 people in need annually, providing everything from food assistance and disaster relief to job training and supportive housing. Through Bruger’s forward-thinking efforts and transformational leadership, millions of meals have been served and countless lives have been changed.
After 26 years of dedicated service, Bruger will be retiring from her position as CUMAC’s Executive Director this summer, and entering retirement as an Ordained Elder of GNJ. While Bruger will certainly be missed, the impact of her career will be felt for many years to come. She has set a strong foundation for CUMAC’s future, helping establish a board, staff and network that are ready to carry on the organization’s mission through Bruger’s transition and beyond.
“While I do not know what the next chapter at CUMAC will be, I am certain that those who have been on the journey, and those who will join the CUMAC family, will help shape a stronger, more vibrant CUMAC that will continue to serve as long as there are persons in need” says Bruger.
CUMAC will be holding a special retirement dinner for Rev. Bruger on Thursday, April 27 at The Fiesta in Wood-Ridge, New Jersey. The retirement celebration is open to all and will feature a hospitality hour, music, dancing, dinner and some special surprises. It promises to be a festive and moving celebration. Tickets for Rev. Bruger’s dinner can be purchased at www.cumac.org/events. Several sponsorship levels are also available. For those who would like to share their gratitude, there will be an opportunity to send Bruger messages of support. See CUMAC’s website for more details.