FLEMINGTON, NJ - Flemington eighth grader Emma Stefanski, with help from her mom Krista Stefanski and many friends and family members who have contributed, has collected nearly 800 pounds of food and personal items for the Flemington Area Food Pantry over the last two months.
What began as a service project for CCD turned into an ongoing effort with a goal of collecting a total of 1,000 pounds, possibly even one ton, by the end of June.
Kristin Stockwell, office and garden manager at the Flemington Area Food Pantry, has been providing internal support of Emma Stefanski’s effort.
“I think it’s incredible that a teenager has taken it upon herself to start such a project and with very impressive goals,” said Stockwell, who helps to receive and weigh the deliveries that Stefanski and her mom have rounded up.
The mother and daughter team has made several trips to pick up donations and deliver them to the food pantry in their ongoing effort, and they are happy to pick up items from anyone that would like to help Stefanski reach her goal.
To coordinate a donation pickup, contact Stockwell at 908-788-5568 or email@example.com. The effort will continue through the end of June.
Anyone interested in organizing a similar food collection effort can also connect with Stockwell for guidance and support. Flemington Area Food Pantry has relied heavily on community generosity to help meet the increasing needs they have seen throughout the pandemic.
“We’ve been able to hand out more food than we expected throughout the pandemic because the community has really stood behind us,” said Stockwell.
For Stefanski, being able to help has been the most rewarding part, and she hopes that her efforts will inspire others to give.
“It means a lot to me to be able to help people that have less, especially during these hard times,” she said. “It really brings out the good in people too. We had one person donate almost 100 pounds by himself.”
Flemington Area Food Pantry has continued to serve Hunterdon County residents in need, offering walk-up or drive-up service during the hours of Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.; every other Wednesday night from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.; and every other Saturday morning from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Clients can place an order upon arrival or through advance online ordering at flemingtonfoodpantry.org. Clients self-certify their needs and what brought them to the food bank, with no proof of income or residency required.
“We all go through a difficult time, and that’s what we’re here for,” said Stockwell.
Stefanski's mom, Krista, a high school teacher, is very aware of the need and the impact of food insecurity.
“Kids cannot learn if they’re hungry,” she said. “People are really in need right now. Life is hard enough, nobody should have to worry about their next meal. I think it’s important that we realize this isn’t necessarily somewhere else, this is right in our own community.”