FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, NJ - This month TAPinto Franklin Township will be running a series called "Meet The Leaders.” The objective is to provide our readers an opportunity to hear from Franklin Township’s leaders in government, public safety, education, houses of worship and other areas, regarding Franklin Township’s present and future outlook.
Each participant was asked to share a little information about their background and personal life. Each “leader” was presented the same core questions that will be published unedited.
TAPinto Franklin Township’s 10th leader interviewed was operations manager of the Franklin Food Bank Serena Bennerman. Bennerman started volunteering at the Franklin Food Bank in 2008 and worked her way up from a warehouse worker to operations manager.
"I felt that I could do some good by giving back to my community," Bennerman said. "I once was on the other side as a client going to the same food bank to get food. It helped my family out and I thought that was a great way for me to give back."
Question: What initiative did you start in 2016, that you are most proud of?
Answer: Got involved with a feed the homeless initiative started by my friend Leslie Hill and I last November. I go out two to three times a week to New Brunswick by the train station and feed the homeless. On occasion, my daughter and sister-in-law Theresa Brown come with me. It brings me great pleasure to see the looks and thanks they give and show us. I have asked my family and friends to donate coats, blankets, hats, gloves even cook something so we can bring to them. To date, we have given out six suitcases on wheels. It makes it easier for them to carry around their belongings. I don't use my own money or items from my home, that's like me taking away from my family, that's why I ask my friends to go into their closets, basements, attic and see what items they have just laying around they want to get rid of. That's how I get the job done. They are people who just fell on hard times, it could happen to any of us. I am very proud of this chapter in my life, it's also a little something I can do for someone else in need.
Question: What will be your main objective for 2017?
Answer: To try and connect with more individuals so that we are reaching more homeless people going towards Highland Park bridge. Asking and seeking more donations for the upcoming months. Food, clothes, or even their time. The more people we have the more homeless we can reach out to.
Question: Are you involved with any youth groups in the community that you would like to share?
Answer: Currently, I am not involved in any youth groups in the community.
Question: What do you feel will be Franklin Township’s biggest challenge in 2017?
Answer: First and foremost try and remain a tight-knit community, establish a soup kitchen to feed people in need, programs for our upcoming youths. Affordable Housing. We need to get back to when everyone cared for one another.
Question: What do you do in your spare time?
Answer: When I do have spare time first thing up is giving honor to God on Sunday, then spending time with my husband and family by either going to the movies, out to dinner or bowling.I love cooking out with my family and friends. My family come to me to help plan their parties because they know it's something I love to do.
Question: Five words that describe Franklin Township are?
Answer: Diverse, talent, evolving, hardworking, community
Bennerman was born and raised in Plainfield and has lived in Franklin Township for 15 years. She has been married to Jason Bennerman since 1995 and raised three children. Bennerman has two sons and a daughter, her sons have already graduated college, and her daughter will graduate next year. She also works part-time as a dietary assistant at a local nursing home.
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