Education

Chatham and Mendham High Schools Competing in Food Drive

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Tim Lonergan, who is running the Chatham High School drive, at the Morristown Salvation Army with staffers Yesmy Molina, Major Marta Droz and Adiela Osorio. Credits: Mary Lonergan
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CHATHAM, NJ - The rivalry between Mendham High School and Chatham High School continues as the school year comes to a close.

Spring sports are finished for the most part – lacrosse, baseball, softball, tennis and track – with certain competitions adding to the rivalries lore (girls' lacrosse, anyone?). Exams, graduations and making summer plans form the current mix of what’s on everyone’s mind – well, almost everyone’s mind.

Tim Lonergan, a sophomore at CHS, and Brendan Lewis, a freshman at MHS, were both thinking about something else, too. According to Lewis, “My mother volunteers at a soup kitchen and she talks about it all the time. I learned that it’s hard for these places over the summer because they usually don’t get enough food. So I decided I wanted to do a food drive before school is out.”

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Lonergan echoes that thinking. “My mother just ran a food drive to help Eva’s Village in Paterson. Helping others is something our family talks about a lot.” “After I saw what she did for her drive I thought I could do something like that, too.”

What Tim’s mother, Mary Lonergan, did was run an on-line food drive using the YouGiveGoods.com that quickly raised over $4000 worth of food in a short couple of weeks.

YouGiveGoods.com is a website that makes it easy to set up and run food drives and animal shelter drives. Based in NJ, the site was launched last September and has been growing rapidly ever since.

“Our core philosophy is to make it easier for people to help out so that more people do,” says Pat O'Neill, CEO of YouGiveGoods.

“From our standpoint, we were excited to know that two more young people wanted to use our system to help others,” remarked O’Neill. “And what’s even more exciting for us is that we have just added a Food Drive Contest feature to our website. When we found out these boys were interested in running a drive, we suggested that they consider running a contest between the two high school communities. “

Brendan is one of three children in the Lewis family. “I play lacrosse and my older brother Tim is on the varsity team – they just lost last week to Chatham,” said Brendan. “My sister plays travel soccer and basketball and has played against a couple of Chatham teams. When I found out that we could compete with Chatham to help others – I thought that was a pretty neat idea.”

Tim is one of five children. “Between my sister and brothers, we’ve played against Mendham many times. So our family is very aware of the rivalry. I thought that having a friendly contest to see who could help out the most would be a good way to raise a lot of food.”

So this time, it’s not on the playing field or in the classroom – this time the rivalry is about doing good, about helping out, about who can do the most to help those in need – all for bragging rights.

Tim has set up a food drive on behalf of the Chatham High School community to support the Salvation Army – Morristown Corps. Brendan has set up his food drive to support the Salvation Army Corps in Dover. Both are going to need help to this summer.

“We are so grateful to have these two food drives running for us now. I don’t think people realize how important it is to fill the food pantries in the summer when kids are not in school to get their one hot meal a day. With summer schedules, very few groups are able to run food drives. This contest between the schools is a great way to have some fun while helping us to feed hungry families this summer”, said Brenda Beavers, Divisional Director of Human Services for the Salvation Army NJ Division. Beavers continued, “This contest is also another way that the Salvation Army is continuing to grow its relationship with YouGiveGoods. There are so many ways that YouGiveGoods is using technology to make it easier to help others. It’s very exciting. They’re a terrific organization to work with."

The Food Contest Drive system on the YouGiveGoods website will let everyone check to see how the drives are going in real time. “I think it’s cool that we can check the scoreboard to see how we are doing in our contest with them 24/7,” says Tim. Brendan agrees, “I can even check the score from my phone!”

“That’s exactly the point,” says O’Neill. “Today’s kids are so tech savvy and are used to getting constant feedback. Part of our thinking in developing a contest system was to tap into how kids are actually doing things these days. We set up a unique Contest Page for every contest on our system so that anyone who wants to see how it’s going is only one click away from the scoreboard.” O’Neill continued, “Our hope is that by making these drives more exciting and making it easy for people to connect and engage in the drive that it will produce better results – more food.”

Beth Lewis, Brendan’s mom also brings up a couple of good points. “We have a very active family – and that makes me the taxi driver. With Brendan’s drive, I don’t actually have to take him anywhere. He doesn’t need to put out collection boxes, he doesn’t have to get the food to the food pantry – YouGiveGoods handles all of that. With all that’s going on as the school year ends, I don’t think I would really have to the time to help him with all of that. I don’t think he would be able to do a drive unless he did it on YouGiveGoods.”

To check out Brendan’s drive in support of the Salvation Army – Dover Corps – go to: www.YouGiveGoods.com/MendhamHighSchoolFightsHunger

To check out Tim’s drive in support of the Salvation Army – Morristown Corps – go to: www.YouGiveGoods.com/ChathamHighSchoolFightsHunger

To check the Scoreboard – go to: www.YouGiveGoods.com/ChathamHSMendhamHSFoodDriveContest

YouGiveGoods is based in Mendham, NJ and is operated by a group of people who strongly believe in the importance of helping others in need. The company’s website, YouGiveGoods.com, was developed to make it easier for people and organizations to set up and run in-kind charity drives, including food drives and animal shelter drives. The site provides free services to charities and makes it simpler for people to donate goods to the charities they want to support. The innovative technology platform is designed to inspire people to give and help others. Visit www.YouGiveGoods.com.

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