BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - A group of sixth graders and their siblings have set up pop-up "Giving Back in 2020" collection sites throughout neighborhoods in Berkeley Heights collecting non-perishable items for local food pantries and people in need.

There are too many hungry people, and these students recognized the importance of acting to make a difference and have chosen to volunteer to help feed those in need. 

They got word out to the community about The Giving Back in 2020 project by making posters, handing out flyers and sharing a video on social media outlets. The video explains what the project is and why the students are participating. (Ariana Rambone, a freshman at Gov. Livingston High School, created the video and helped with posters and flyers.)

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"The Giving Back in 2020 project makes me feel happy because I know we are helping feed people who are in need and hungry," said Jayden Man. 

Volunteerism is nothing new for Jayden. Before starting this project with friends, he would perform at local nursing homes for the NJ Community Ensemble, an organization founded by his brother Matt Man, who is currently a freshman in college.

The Giving Back in 2020 project began this past summer when Jayden and a group of friends met weekly to make PB&J sandwiches to donate to St Joseph’s. They collectively made over 1,000 sandwiches.  

These students are volunteering just for the joy of helping others and embracing kindness. This winter, they see a growing need to feed the hungry and started collecting non-perishable food.

"This is a great experience to help the unfortunate during these tough times," said Brian Delgado.

Many of the volunteers participated in both the sandwich making and food drive events. Combined, there are over 30 youth volunteers.

"Through this project, they recognize that there really is hunger out there and how little we can do to make a big difference," said Sue Seto, a parent organizer of the project.  She plans to continue to encourage the kids to volunteer. "It's something I believe in and have passion for."

Look out for the posters downtown and drop off locations throughout town. Email "TheGivingBack2020Project@gmail.com" for further information.

What the youth volunteers have to say about volunteerism and kindness: 

"Grateful and blessed to give back!" ~ Alex Heuther

"A great experience to help the unfortunate during these tough times." ~ Brian  Delgado

"The Giving Back in 2020 project makes me feel happy because I know we are helping feed people who are in need and hungry." ~ Jayden Man

"I feel very happy to help those that are really in need.  I think more people should do service work for people." ~ Lily Stack

"I enjoy service work because it's about giving back to other people.  Sometimes we take things for granted; so it's important that we help others who aren't as fortunate as we are." ~ Logan Stack

"We participated in The Giving Back in 2020 program to help others in need have a better life.  Also, it helps us appreciate all that we have." ~ Thomas& Meredith Fettes

"I feel great about the project.  I think it's going to do really well.  People can be really kind.  Kindness pays off." ~ Tiegen& Micah Ang-Horowitz

"The Giving Back in 2020 project makes me feel good because I'm helping people.  I have learned that we throw away a lot of food, and we don't need to buy as much." ~ Tyler Villanueva

Volunteers: Alex Heuther, Anay and Ruhi Munje, Ariana Rambone, Brian Delgado, Bridget and Molly Migueis, Christian Dy, Henry Greenberg, Jayden man, Julian Rambone, Leon and Noah Mizrachi, Lily and Logan Stack, Mathis Kaltenback, Siddhant and Ritika Sanghvi, Thomas and Meredith Fettes, Tiegen and Micah Ang-Horowitz, Tyler Cear, Tyler Reed and Tyler Villanueva