WESTFIELD, NJ — The Westfield Food Pantry at Holy Trinity Church ran a major Food Drive Wednesday to collect for needy individuals and families in the community.
Collection started at 8:30 a.m. when congregants of Temple Emanu-El attending Yom Kippur services brought bags of food with them to donate. Donations were also collected at the First Congregational Church of Westfield.
For the first time, the Westfield Police Department transported the food from the donation centers to the collection center at the Holy Trinity School gymnasium. More than 100 Westfield students who had the day off for the holiday helped unload the police trailer and sort the food.
“We are excited to see all the young people who came to help out, including Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and youth groups,” said Holy Trinity Youth Group Director Patricia Martin. “And Mayor Brindle came out to support the food drive.”
Westfield Food Bank Director Rose O’Hare supervised onsite operations.
“This is one of the best turnouts for volunteers ever,” O’Hare said.
The Westfield Food Pantry regularly collects from several local houses of worship and organizations, including Holy Trinity Church, First United Methodist Church, Westfield Service League, St. Helen’s, Temple Emanu-El and St. Paul's Episcopal Church, said Westfield Food Pantry volunteer Tom Conheeny.
“Holy Trinity and First United Methodist Church also donate food directly from their onsite vegetable gardens,” he said.
Collection continued Wednesday despite the chilly light rain that started before noon, and the students continued to push shopping carts to the police trailer outside. Adult volunteers and students sorted the brown paper bags full of non-perishable food items and sanitary supplies into smaller crates, then stacked the items into the storage rooms.
The Westfield Food Pantry, which is affiliated with the Community FoodBank of NJ, serves about 300 people each month, according to O’Hare. Food is distributed based on family size to pre-screened clients of their referring social service agency on weekday mornings. The pantry holds three major food drives each year.
“We serve six to eight families a day,” said Conheeny. “This is a tremendous effort of local resources. People are wonderful.”
The next major food drive is Nov. 9. For more information, contact Westfield Food Pantry volunteer Tom Conheeny at 908-233-2145.