TOTOWA, N.J. - A special event will be held at the Totowa Community Center, that aims to help feed the community. The "Help your Neighbors Food and Necessities Drive" will be an all day event that will gather donations for the St. Agnes of Little Falls Food Pantry and Eva's Kitchen in Paterson.
According to April Corbo, local resident and event coordinator, the items that the event hopes to collect are sealed non-perishable food, baby goods(food, diapers, etc), gently used clothes and shoes, toiletries (toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, soap, feminine products, etc) and pet supplies.
Corbo said she came up with the idea for the event because she wanted to do something good.
"All the stuff I am seeing around me is so negative," she said. "I've been donating to food pantries through Sprouting Totowa for a few years now but we do not grow enough to make a big impact. I wanted to do something bigger to counteract all the negativity in the world. It would be so nice if we had a day to celebrate charity by doing charitable acts."
Sprouting Totowa is nonprofit organization started approximately five years ago, which hosts workshops to educate the community about suburban gardening, she added. The goal is to provide a local source of organically grown fruits and vegetables, educate young people and adults about the benefits of gardening, and cultivate a community of individuals committed to sustainable land use within Totowa, according to the organization's website. The organization also features a raised bed community garden.
"We donate a portion of the harvest from our garden to local food pantries and soup kitchens," Corbo explained.
Corbo also said that workshops used to be hosted at the Totowa Public Library but due to the COVID-19 health crisis, Sprouting Totowa is now in the process of building its website to host remote sessions.
"I've been posting fliers on social media and Totowa's Board of Recreation Department made copies for me," she noted, adding that the flier states what needs to be collected.
Live music will also be provided at the event. Will Walsh, local resident, currently plays in two New Jersey cover bands, Howlin' Poets and Positive Note. After Corbo contacted Walsh, along with bands' members to see if they would be interested in being a part of the fundraiser, both bands signed on to lend helping hands and voices
"I have permission to use the community center," she said. "We were asked to do the collection outside and sort inside. I have space from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. We plan to clean and leave the space better than we found it, so I made sure to give us time before and after the event when I asked for the space.”
Corbo hopes to make the collection a yearly event.
"I know food pantries have more of a challenge in the summer keeping donations stocked, and now with more people being out of work and kids at home," she added.
The event will take place this Saturday, July 25 at the Totowa Community Center, located at 385 Union Boulevard, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event coordinators ask that you do not donate toys, worn clothes/shoes, or open containers. For more information visit www.sproutingtotowa.wixsite.com.