MORRISTOWN, NJ - The 26th annual Action Against Hunger™ Food Drive presented by The Record and NorthJersey.com will be held throughout North Jersey on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, from noon to 4 p.m. The recent hurricanes have underscored how vital volunteerism is to everyone’s survival in the world that we live in today. The lead local emergency food pantries that will receive and distribute the food packages include The Interfaith Food Pantry, as well as the Center for Food Action, Bergen County; CUMAC/ECHO, Passaic County; and MEND, Essex County.
“Beginning in 2017, the Interfaith Food Pantry launched its Healthy Choices Mobile Pantry, which is designed to help bring healthy foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables to smaller food pantries in Morris County towns, where there is great need but transportation to their primary locations in Morristown and Morris Plains locations is scarce. Our goal is to build up an existing infrastructure without duplicating efforts,” said Rosemary Gilmartin, executive director, Interfaith Food Pantry. “The Healthy Choices Mobile Pantry not only allows us to enhance the offerings of smaller pantries throughout the county with more staples and fresh produce, but we are also building and strengthening a network of food providers within communities that are allowing agencies to work together to address the gaps.”
The Healthy Choices Mobile Pantry is also addressing the needs of an increasing number of seniors who are food-insecure by delivering boxes of food and produce to residents living in a number of low-income senior housing units, and its innovative Kitchen to Table program leverages corporate volunteers who work on-site at the Pantry’s Resource Center to cook healthy yet easy-to-reheat prepared meals for the homebound individuals enrolled in their home delivery program. In 2016, the IFP served nearly 10,000 individuals across Morris County and distributed more than 1 million pounds of food.
“As we kick off year 26 of the Action Against Hunger Food Drive, there remain many in New Jersey who rely on vital food donations to survive every day,” said Jennifer Borg, president of the Foundation of Northern New Jersey Inc. (formerly known as North Jersey Media Group Foundation). “The recent devastation in Texas, the Caribbean and the East Coast of the U.S. reminds us how important it is for each of us to pitch in to help those less fortunate. Together we can make a difference and be much more effective than most governmental programs.”
This is the time of year that the Action Against Hunger Food Drive helps fill the needs of many in North Jersey. With your help, the Food Drive can help feed thousands of our North Jersey families and ensure that the pantries continue nutrition and health education-related programs specifically for seniors, children, the infirm and those who need it most.
According to Borg, “Last year, we collected more than 56 tons of food. This year, the goal is to exceed that number by 10 percent to keep up with the increased demand for these services.”
Cash donations are the backbone of this effort, as pantries can stretch the dollar more than individuals can. Tax-deductible cash donations can be made online at www.ActionAgainstHunger.com or mailed to Action Against Hunger, P.O. Box 75, Hackensack, NJ 07602-9192. For more information about the drive, drop-off sites and how you can help, please visit www.ActionAgainstHunger.com or call 201-626-4306.
Food items that can be donated on Sept. 24 include nonperishable, nutritious foods such as canned vegetables, meats, fish and fruits; hearty soups and stews; pasta; white and brown rice; peanut butter; enriched cereals; oatmeal; pancake mix; powdered or evaporated milk; 100 percent fruit juice; baby formula; and low-sugar and low-sodium foods for those with special dietary needs.