Howell Farm aids food pantries, community groups

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Mercer County New Jersey COVID 19 Update


Howell Farm -- preparing food pantry delivery-1

In keeping with its longtime practice of contributing heirloom and heritage field and garden crops to the community through local food banks and pantries, the Mercer County Park Commission’s Howell Living History Farm is providing wheat flour, cornmeal, oatmeal, fresh eggs and more in support of local initiatives to help those in need during the COVID-19 public health emergency. 

Besides the half-acre of potatoes it just planted for later distribution through Mercer County food banks, the farm is making weekly donations of eggs, whole wheat flour, cornmeal and oatmeal to local food pantries and community programs. The donations come with recipe cards for making bread, pancakes and muffins. The oatmeal includes instructions for cooking oatmeal as well as for making oat milk.  

To date, the farm has provided food pantries with 150 pounds of its wheat flour, 200 pounds of cornmeal, 275 pounds of oatmeal (all in 2-pound bags) and 150 dozen eggs.

The farm also is providing skeins of yarn to volunteer knitters who are making hats, mittens, socks and scarves for donation to those in need of woolen clothing items. The yarn is spun from wool sheared from Howell Farm’s 30 sheep. Each fleece produces about six, 200-yard-long skeins of wool -- enough to make six scarves, a dozen pairs of mittens or a dozen hats.  In addition, members of the farm’s volunteer sewing group are making masks from cotton cloth.    

Howell Farm is owned by Mercer County and operated by the Mercer County Park Commission. It hosts more than 65,000 visitors annually, offering schoolchildren and members of the public opportunities to learn about past and present farming methods through tours, interactive programs and hands-on experiences. Although the farm is currently closed to the public, it continues to care for the crops, animals and natural resources essential to the community. 

PHOTO: Cornmeal and oatmeal being packaged at Howell Farm today for delivery to local food pantries.

Parks -- test site


The Mercer County Park Commission would like to send a special thank you to all those on the front lines around the world during the outbreak of COVID-19. Here in Mercer County, the appointment-only, drive-up testing site for COVID-19 at the Quaker Bridge Mall has been a successful addition for conducting testing for the public. The Park Commission is very thankful for all those involved, along with the Park Commission staff who have been doing their part to help. Each day, Park Rangers have been collecting tests with guidance from medical staff and transporting samples to the diagnostic center. This testing site takes about 160 samples daily, contributing to the statewide operation of determined individuals doing their part to tackle this virus. Above, Luis Reyes, Assistant Supervisor of Park Rangers, prepares to transport a container of samples.

Mercer County testing sites -- Quaker Bridge Mall and Trenton

COVID-19 testing site

Mercer County, in collaboration with health care and municipal partners, is operating an appointment-only, drive-up testing site for COVID-19 at Quaker Bridge Mall in Lawrence, and appointment-only pop-up testing sites in Trenton for individuals who lack transportation to the mall location. The Trenton sites are now open in each city ward one day a week.

Testing will be provided for symptomatic Mercer County residents age 18 or older who have an appointment. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

If you are symptomatic for COVID-19 and want to be tested, contact your primary health care practitioner. If a test is needed, your doctor will fax a prescription to the Mercer County health call center at 609-630-4031, and the center will contact you to schedule an appointment. If you voice an inability to get to Quaker Bridge Mall, you will be offered an appointment at a Trenton pop-up site along with instructions on when and where to go. If you do not have a doctor, call an urgent care facility or call the Henry J. Austin Health Center in Trenton (609-278-5900) to arrange for screening.

For the health, safety and security of staff at the Quaker Bridge Mall testing site, patients will not be permitted to leave their vehicles. Walk-ups are not permitted at that testing location.

You must have an appointment to be tested. Those who show up at a testing site without an appointment will not be able to be tested.

If you have questions about the testing process, call 609-337-4081 Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.  

The testing sites are collaborative efforts between the County of Mercer, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton, Capital Health System, St. Francis Medical Center in Trenton, the Trenton Health Team, Henry J. Austin Health Center, the City of Trenton, Lawrence Township and Quaker Bridge Mall management.

If you believe you may have symptoms of COVID-19, the State of New Jersey’s COVID-19 Information Hub provides a self-assessment tool that will help you determine whether you should be tested. Visit

Flatten the Curve


To mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and protect the capacity of New Jersey's health care system for the state's most vulnerable, all residents are under a stay-at-home order issued by Gov. Phil Murphy. Executive Order No. 107 provides for certain exceptions, such as obtaining essential goods or services, seeking medical attention or reporting to work. It also directs the closure of all non-essential retail businesses to the public. Find more information at


The NJ Poison Control Center and 211 have partnered with the State to provide information to the public on COVID-19:
Call: 2-1-1
Call (24/7): 1-800-962-1253
Text: NJCOVID to 898-211
Visit or for additional information

Wash hands


To ensure the lowest chance of obtaining the virus, and spreading the virus to others:

  • Practice social distancing.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your nose, eyes and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when you have to go out in public; for example, to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities. Do not use a facemask meant for a health care worker. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.
  • If you are in a private setting and do not have on your cloth face covering, remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or use the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash and wash your hands or clean them with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces

COVID-19 symptoms-cough


Symptoms can appear between 2-14 days after exposure, though some people may not have any symptoms while still being contagious. It's also important to consider whether you've been in contact with an infected person, as well as any symptoms you may be experiencing. In addition to fever, cough and shortness of breath, symptoms can include chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell.

If you believe you've been infected and you are not in immediate danger, you should contact your doctor by phone. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911, and notify the dispatch personnel that you may have COVID-19.

COVID-19 Symptom Checker.


If you’re feeling stressed, anxious or depressed due to COVID-19, please call New Jersey's MentalHealthCares Helpline at 866-202-HELP (4357) or visit for emotional support, guidance, and mental health referrals as needed. You also may call the SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 (TTY 1-800-846-8517).


For information on COVID-19/Novel Coronavirus and its impact on businesses – including resources, assistance and regulations -- visit the State of New Jersey business portal and the Mercer County Office of Economic Development.

Census logo-3


You haven’t missed your chance to participate in the 2020 Census! If your home hasn’t responded, a paper form is on the way. Check your mailbox this week for your opportunity to bring education, health care, housing, and political power to your community.

If a paper form doesn’t work for you, you can respond online or by phone. There are so many ways to count yourself in the 2020 Census -- don’t wait! 

People across America are keeping their families and communities safe and healthy by staying home, or serving the public by providing essential services. Responding to the Census yourself — is another way to do your part and help keep your community strong. 

To respond online, visit; to respond by phone, call 844-330-2020 (English) or 844-468-2020 (Spanish).


Did you lose your job or have your hours reduced as a result of COVID-19? Businesses across New Jersey need thousands of workers for immediate hire. Learn more about who is hiring in your community at The New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development has prepared a frequently asked questions document for workers affected by the coronavirus emergency.

CDC monitor


The New Jersey Department of Health on April 23 announced 4,247 new positive cases, bringing the total of positive cases in the state to 99,989 with 5,368 deaths. The most positive cases are in Bergen County, which has 14,049; Mercer County has 2,991, with 163 deaths. To view Mercer County data by municipality, please visit the Mercer County COVID-19 Dashboard at Please note that municipal data lags behind the state data and will update as information becomes available. Visit the New Jersey Department of Health's COVID-19 Dashboard  for more statewide information. 

The CDC on April 22 announced a total of 802,583 cases of COVID-19 in the United States, and a total of 44,575 deaths, with 55 locations (50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, North Mariana Islands and U.S. Virgin Islands) reporting cases. Total cases includes 3,981 probable cases and total deaths includes 5,862 probable deaths. For more information, visit