MONTVILLE, NJ – With the COVID-19 pandemic have come lay-offs, and with no income has come increased need at the Montville Kiwanis Food Pantry. Cedar Hill Elementary School’s Fifth Grade Committee decided to help out by hosting a “food pantry parade.”

The fifth graders collected and shopped for the items needed by the food pantry, then on May 7, the students joined mom or dad in the car and “lined up” to drop off the items at committee member Lesley Gering’s house.

The food pantry parade took about 15 minutes, with the 66 fifth graders quickly jumping out of the passenger side doors of the cars to drop off bags of items into boxes set at the base of the driveway at the Gerings’ house as the family watched from the yard.

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“It was fun,” Lesley’s son Jackson, a 5th grader at Cedar Hill said. “I liked the ‘parade’ because I got to see all of my friends.” Montville schools have been closed since mid-March.

Lesley said that they drove two cars full of items to the food pantry that evening. Montville’s own Jerry Vella, who rode around in his vintage-style automobile with Shrek and the Easter Bunny a couple of weeks ago bringing smiles to adults and children across the township, definitely had a smile when the cars arrived at the food pantry, as he and his family were volunteering there and were worried about the state of the shelves.

Vella said the pantry had about ten times the normal number of patrons that evening.

“When we arrived at the pantry we were rather distressed, because the cupboard was kind of bare!” Vella wrote in a post on social media. “Most families want at least two big boxes of cereal. There were only about ten boxes or so, and my wife suggested sending one of the kids to the store because more would be needed. No time though, because ten minutes before opening the cars started arriving. And arriving. Car after car loaded with donations. You guys are amazing!! When we left the pantry, the shelves probably had enough food for all of Saturday and on into next week. Thank you so much. We were actually all winners but the leader in contributions was the famous CEDAR HILL FIFTH GRADE!

“Thank you, people of Montville, for your generosity and thank you to the Kiwanis Club who somehow anticipated this need and made this possible,” Vella said.

Captain America, AKA Montville Kiwanis President Michael D. Johnson, posted a thank you to the fifth graders. View it by clicking here:

The Montville Kiwanis Food Pantry is open on Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon, which is also when donations can be brought. For more information, please go to or see them on Facebook at Montville Kiwanis, or contact Deane Driscoll at 973-216-7649.


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