Donations to the 23rd annual Curbing Hunger food drive totaled 50,114 pounds this year, including 1,186 pounds of online donations of fresh fruits and vegetables from Somerset County donors. Also included were 2,104 pounds collected by Bound Brook schools in their fourth year as Curbing Hunger Month supporters.
“Our local food banks know they can count on residents’ generosity year after year,” said Freeholder Director Peter S. Palmer. “With school lunch programs closed and no holiday food drives this time of year, these donations are more important than ever.”
The Food Bank Network of Somerset County, the Franklin Township Food Bank and local food pantries have seen unprecedented increases in the number of people they are serving since the economic crisis. The Food Bank Network serves close to 1,400 families a month. Many people who were previously using the food bank only occasionally for emergencies now are regular visitors. Some who previously donated to the agency now are clients themselves.
Curbing Hunger started as a pilot program in Somerset County in 1995 and was expanded to several other counties in New Jersey. Since then, more than 2.4 million pounds of food have been collected statewide, valued at over $3.9 million. More than 2 million pounds have been collected in Somerset County alone.
The Curbing Hunger campaign is a joint effort of the Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the county Recycling Center, county and municipal public works departments, the Food Bank Network of Somerset County and Curbing Hunger Inc.
Supporters of the program this year were MyCentralJersey.com and the Courier News. St. Mark’s Episcopal Church of Basking Ridge is a founding sponsor.
Anyone wishing to make a monetary donation at any time during the year may send a check to Curbing Hunger Inc., 140 S. Finley Ave., Basking Ridge, NJ 07920. For more information, call 908-344-5571.
Somerset County residents also can make regular donations of non-perishable food every month. There are three ways to help:
- Put canned goods at the curb year-round on your recycling days; use any plastic bag and mark it “Food.”
- As part of the “Buy One, Bring One” (BOBO) Fridays program, drop off canned and boxed goods at the county administration building, at several county library branches, at various municipal buildings and several other public locations.
- Bring non-perishables to any First Saturday of the Month recycling drop-off at the county recycling center.