News, Events & Stories
Todd Jackson: A TASK Success Story
From Meals to Music, TASK Patron Gains Confidence and a Career
Todd Jackson is a 60-year-old Trenton native who found himself at TASK’s door after his release from prison.
He was struggling to find work, and with no prospect of an income, he could not afford to buy food.
After hearing about TASK through word of mouth—as many patrons do—he came to us for a meal.
Initially, Jackson came just for food. Then, he discovered the TASK computer lab and began to use it for job searches. However, with virtually no computer or typing skills, he struggled there, too.
Ultimately, a TASK staffer referred him to the Job Search program’s employment specialist, Paulash Banerjee, and things began to change. Banerjee helped Jackson craft a resume, told him of job fairs he could attend, and soon Jackson landed a job as a custodian in a supermarket—the first job he’d had in years. But the position’s erratic hours and low pay did not allow him to pursue his passion—playing stand-up bass.
A jazz enthusiast, Jackson already played the bass guitar, and before the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily suspended indoor activities at our Escher Street dining room, he often led open jam sessions during TASK’s music program. With lessons, Jackson hopes he will land a spot in a jazz band someday, commencing a whole new world of possibilities.
After two years of coming to TASK, Jackson found another job through the program: a custodial position at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.
Jackson has enjoyed great success there, maintaining employment that covers his rent, allows him to feed himself and gives him the means to keep his jazz dreams alive.
He has also inspired the lab to host hiring drives and hire more TASK patrons.
“If it wasn’t for the people at TASK and this program, I would not have been able to get this job,” Jackson said. “This job had a long application process—a lot on the computer. I could not have applied without the help of Paulash and the program.”