MILLBURN, NJ — In an effort to help fund the Community Foodbank of New Jersey at a time when its services are needed more than ever before, Millburn students are spearheading a project with a delicious reward for those who donate.
Millburn students Sydney Rosenberg and Andrew Kay, both sophomores at the high school in the cooking for good club, sat down with TAPinto Millburn/Short Hills to talk about their project, some of their favorite recipes, and the charitable aspect that they hope will help stock the community food bank.
For Rosenberg and Kay, the idea of building out a digital cookbook accomplished two goals; funding donations to the food bank, and providing Millburn residents with a way to enjoy staying home.
“Basically, I was thinking about good ways to give back to our community in hard times like these,” Rosenberg said. “And I was aware that many people were setting up clubs to write letters to hospital members, but I thought that we should take a step to help the food bank, who are still in need of help for people who are not provided food in times like these.”
“I think that cooking is such a good way to show love,” Kay added. “And I think that food is such a representative of love. So I really thought that everyone really needs a lot of love right now, because it’s such a hard time, and I thought that if we could share people’s recipes and their food that they like to enjoy with their family, it would be a good way to bring the community together.”
In order to reach as many people in the school community as possible, the two had Dr. Bill Miron, Millburn High School Principal, send out an email blast asking for recipe submissions.
“We really wanted to get, especially our school community on this, so we had Dr. Miron email it [out],” Kay said.
The community feedback was better than the pair could have anticipated.
“We immediately got some great responses, “Rosenberg said. “A lot of people submitted recipes. A lot of people have been donating and it’s still ongoing, and the community is great. My mom put it up on WorkMom, so not only has it reached the school community but also people who don’t have children in the school system.”
Each recipe submitted to the pair, includes the ingredients needed, directions to make, and a photo of the finished project or a comment from the chef. Residents wishing to submit their recipes may do so at the following link: https://forms.gle/knfUw9vX6LCuLLwJ7
Both students discussed their favorite recipes that they had seen so far.
“There was a granola recipe from one of our classmates that I really liked because I thought it was such a good, easy kind of thing,” Kay said. “It wasn’t a lot of cooking on the stove. There was also a copycat Levain chocolate chip cookie recipe that I really liked, because I love those cookies.
“Those are one of my favorites from New York, and since no one can go right now, I think it’s really cool to make it at home.”
"One of my favorite recipes is actually from our gym teachers at school,” Rosenberg added. “He made a really cool tomato sauce homemade. And I love the ingredients used because they’re mostly pantry items that people can just whip up without having to go to the store.”
The beauty of the online cookbook lies in its versatility and ease of editing. While readers will have the cookbook forever once they make a five dollar donation, the cookbook, which consists of Google slides, will expand in real time as more recipes are submitted.
As of Monday, the pair had raised 10 donations of five dollars, raising $50 to feed approximately 150 people.
For the two students, the project has been worthwhile, and is something they have enjoyed putting together, both for the recipes and the community help.
“I just think that we really wanted to bring the community together,” Kay said. And especially during these times, we want to encourage people to stay home. I think that cooking is such a great activity that takes up time and is very rewarding, and we wanted recipes for people to be able to make while they’re home and not have to go out and get stuff.”
“Also, as alluded to before, many people have lost their jobs and it’s very hard times, because people don’t have jobs, and they don’t have an income they can afford food with,” Rosenberg added. “So by donating money to these food drives, these people are set. And until they can find a job, which is very hard […] it’s a way to keep them set.”
In order to purchase the cookbook for the cooking for good club, Venmo either of the pair at @andrewkay_ or @Syd-Rosenberg with the caption being your attached email address to send the “cookbook”. Additional donations will be accepted as well