NEW JERSEY - The organization that launched a tremendously successful food-collection program in Somerset County is inviting all New Jersey residents to help fight hunger around the state.

Curbing Hunger Inc., which is conducting its 23rd annual food drive in Somerset County this June, is looking to partner with hunger agencies, civic groups, faith-based organizations, clubs and individuals in all 21 counties, in order to expand the food drive’s reach and impact: 2017 Goal: 100K Pounds Statewide

For information about how to get involved, email or call (908) 344-5571, ext. 803.

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To date three organizations have pledged to collect food this year as part of the Curbing Hunger Month program: St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Basking Ridge, St. John on the Mountain in Bernardsville, and the Curbing Hunger Youth Council.

June once again has been proclaimed as Curbing Hunger Month throughout New Jersey. The Curbing Hunger program, which has operated in several other counties besides Somerset at different times during the past two decades, has collected more than 2.4 million pounds of food to date.

The goal of the 23rd annual Curbing Hunger program is to collect 100,000 pounds of donations statewide this year, largely through a convenient online donation process hosted by Amp Your Good at Look for information on social media under #GiveHealthy.

“We want to promote healthier food stuffs, including fresh produce, in addition to canned and boxed items,” said Curbing Hunger Inc. Board President Chuck Knill.  “That’s the beauty of the online donation option: you can select whatever items you want to donate, pay with a credit card, and Amp Your Good will deliver your donated items directly to a local food bank in your county, or wherever you wish to earmark your donation.”

Hunger continues to be one of New Jersey’s major social issues.  Most hunger and youth-development organizations have reported increases year after year in the number of adults and children they are serving. According to the New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition, more than 1.19 million New Jersey residents are considered to be food-insecure, including nearly 400,000 children.

Summertime remains the toughest time.  With fewer food drives taking place, donations to social-service organizations decline, while the number of people needing support grows.  School-aged children who typically get two meals a day at school don’t get that support when school is not in session.

The focus on fresh produce during the 2017 Curbing Hunger Month drive is aimed at counteracting low-quality foods that may be the only type available to individuals who need food assistance.  Also, many urban areas are “food deserts” that lack fresh produce, which is not carried by their local stores.