VERONA, NJ - The Junior Woman’s Club of Verona will run Verona Fights Hunger Week during the week of Oct. 11-17. VFHW will benefit the Human Needs Pantry of Montclair by donating the food collected to the HNFP.  Currently, the Human Needs Pantry has 950 families registered for their two assistance programs, and that number is constantly growing. In the month of August alone, an additional 38 families registered for assistance.

What would you do if you had to choose between heating your home and putting nutritious food on the table?  To some people, the arrival of cool fall temperatures and rising heating costs present a serious problem.  According to a Community Food Bank of New Jersey survey, 77 percent of emergency food clients in New Jersey reported having to choose between paying for food and paying for utilities or heating fuel.  The Junior Woman’s of Club of Verona’s second annual Verona Fights Hunger Week offers an opportunity for members of our community to help local families who deal with this difficult choice.

Weekly, the Human Needs Pantry provides basic necessities such as food and toiletries to people from Montclair, Bloomfield, Glen Ridge, Verona, Cedar Grove, Fairfield, Caldwell, West Caldwell, North Caldwell, Roseland, Short Hills, Livingston and Millburn. VFHW provides a tremendous help with the Human Needs Pantry’s daunting task.  Mike Bruno, director of the Montclair Human Needs Pantry, said,  “We are incredibly grateful for the amazing Verona Fights Hunger initiative.  The unprecedented 800 bags of food we received last year were greatly needed and your efforts help us continue our mission of helping people in need.”

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The Juniors seek to partner with local businesses, civic organizations, charities, religious groups and others who wish to join the club in collecting food donations during Verona Fights Hunger Week. The Juniors will provide a toolkit to organizations that participate, including brown shopping bags, donated by Kings, and Verona Fights Hunger donation forms that can be distributed to members of the community. The groups will, in turn, bring the donations they collect to Town Hall on the morning of Oct. 18. All donations then will be delivered to the Human Needs Food Pantry.

Local businesses are invited to participate in Verona Fights Hunger by hosting a collection bin, donating a portion of their proceeds to the cause and/or providing incentives for customers to donate items. Kings will have pre-filled bags on hand throughout the week, allowing customers to make “grab and go” donations.

Members of the community, including students looking to fulfill service hours, are encouraged to help out as well! The Juniors are currently seeking volunteers on for collection day, October 17, who can help organize the food and load the truck. Individuals who would like to collect food donations may also contact the Juniors by email to request a food collection kit. Kits will be dropped off to volunteers by club members.

Items needed most by the Human Needs Pantry are staples such as canned tuna, peanut butter, canned soups, canned vegetables, canned fruits, rice, pasta, dried beans and breakfast cereal. The canned fruits and cereal are important because they are expensive to buy and are always requested. The Human Needs Pantry also seeks diapers, baby wipes, feminine products of all types, bar soaps, and toothpaste.

For more information about Verona Fights Hunger Week, or to volunteer to help with this effort, please email veronafightshunger@veronajuniors.org.