BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Hundreds of Bridgewater residents have joined the new #BridgewaterCares initiative, introduced by councilman Matthew Moench and Stephanie Moench, to give back to the community.

At this time, about 6,000 people have viewed the "One-Hour Challenge" video.

"#BridgewaterCares was founded on the idea that with 45,000 residents, we could accomplish a lot of great things for the community," Matthew Moench said in a release. "So we issued a challenge to our residents: do one hour of service this holiday season. The response to that challenge has been tremendous."

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The #BridgewaterCares Facebook page has many supporters' posts about personal volunteer efforts and favorite non-profit organizations, the release said. There are also dozens of suggested service ideas being posted daily, the release said.

"Matt and I have three children under the age of six, so we can definitely relate to the challenges faced by parents in finding time to do service and volunteer work," Stephanie Moench said in the release. "However, there are plenty of activities that we can do with our children to include them in these efforts and to teach them about compassion and service. There is truly something for everyone to do."

To spread the message, the release said, Matthew Moench has volunteered with and spoken to many organizations, including the Raritan Pregnancy Aide & Information Center and the Food Bank of Somerset County. Stephanie Moench and her children made cards for soldiers with Operation Jersey Cares.

In addition, the release said, organizations like the Finderne Rescue Squad, HuluFrog, Somerset County Business Partnership, Friends of the Somerset Regional Animal Shelter, Bradley Gardens PTO, Rotary Club of Somerville and Bridgewater and the Blessed Sacrament Knights of Columbus have posted in support of the initiative.

And residents, the release said, have shared their stories, including one resident who adopted a family in need instead of exchanging Christmas presents among their family, and another who participated in the MOMS Club of Bridgewater Central-East's Angel Tree Toy Drive.

For more information, visit BridgewaterCares on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.