REGION - Continuing the momentum of the Community Challah Bake and the #EndHungerGMW campaign sponsored by Jewish Federation of  Greater MetroWest NJ, Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ will sponsor its sixth annual community Supermarket Sweep at two locations this year on Sunday, March 8.

ShopRites of Clark and Greater Morristown in Cedar Knolls will join with Federation’s Center for Volunteerism  to help end hunger in New Jersey, giving Greater MetroWest residents more opportunities to shop this year as part of the community-wide mitzvah project to restock local kosher food pantries. Previously, the event — cochaired this year by Elyse Deutsch, Becky Freeman, and Janice Weinberg of Scotch Plains and Mariela M. Dybner of Maplewood — was held only at Clark ShopRite.

The End Hunger campaign, a year-long program, is a federation initiative to heighten awareness and advocacy for the hungry and food insecure of New Jersey. Previous campaign events included the Community Challah Bake last Dec. 2, in which participants baked over 700 loaves of challot for local kosher pantries, and the Food Stamp Challenge, in which legislators in the Greater MetroWest area and Jewish community leaders and staff of federation and partner agencies attempted to live on $4 a day or $29.40/week, the average amount of assistance needy individuals receive through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP (previously known as food stamps).

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For the Supermarket Sweep, to be held from 2 to 4 p.m. at both ShopRites, participants, who may come in organized groups or individually with their families, may purchase any number of non-perishable, kosher food items for the local food pantries. From 4:30-6, volunteers may also help unload, sort, and stock items at either the Jewish Family Service of Central NJ’s Kosher Food Pantry in Elizabeth or the Bobrow Kosher Food Pantry of Oheb Shalom Congregation, South Orange.

“Every year we hear about more and more people that are having trouble feeding their families,” said Elyse Deutsch. “I know how much JFS appreciates the food that we deliver.” And whether participants spend $10 or $100 on food items, “everything they buy helps feeds the needy in our area,” Deutsch said. “It’s all a plus.”

“Supermarket Sweep is a great annual event for our community,” said Mariela Dybner. “Not only does it provide kosher food for so many people who need it and let everyone know about the important work of our local food pantries, but it gives us a tangible opportunity to show our children how to do tzedaka (giving charity).” 

The most needed items for the food banks are tuna fish, peanut butter, dry/evaporated milk, and canned soups; non-perishable items such as canned vegetables, beans, boxed pasta, cereals, jam/jelly, and crackers are also welcome.

And with Passover to begin on Friday, April 3, kosher for Passover items such as grape juice; tuna fish; matza; gefilte fish; canned soups, fruits, and vegetables; and applesauce are also being requested.

Acceptable hechshers (kosher symbols) for both kosher food pantries include the OU, Triangle-K, KSA (Kosher Supervision of America), Kof-K, Star-K, and O-K.

For more information or to register for the Supermarket Sweep, visit www.jfedgmw.org/sweep