SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- Residents of Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Westfield, Mountainside, Garwood, Cranford and Clark combined their efforts in an area wide food bank/drive on Friday, April 10, at Shovlin Mattress Factory in Fanwood and other locations to benefit the Rahway Food For Friends Food Bank & Soup Kitchen, which is in desperate need of support.
The effort was spearheaded locally by Scotch Plains Deputy Mayor Josh Losado, who organized it with his friend, Michael Esposito, a Westfield resident. He was offered help from different towns at locations throughout the County.
"I have some time on my hands and I'm involved in school events. It all started with Wednesday lunches partnership with Rotary of Westfield and St. Joseph's Social Service Center in Elizabeth. I learned about it and had been sending kids with extra lunch each week. When the schools shut down, we said let's do something more," Esposito said.
Esposito used some of his social media knowledge to organize efforts at Jefferson School in Westfield to help feed the hungry.
Freeholder Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded became involved through her husband, who a friend of Esposito's.
"I said, 'Why don't we get involved with a food bank?' I called some friends at Jefferson School PTO. It was growing each week, Esposito explained. "Then, Lauren Barr of the Westfield Leader/Scotch Plains Times reached out to me and offered to help... Rahway Food for Friends, a food bank and soup kitchen, said it would gladly accept the donations."
Esposito explained that he wanted to bring a ton of food and enlisted people who had trucks that could deliver the food, including Shovlin Mattress Factory, Star Painting, Cuccaro Landscaping, and A Plus Painting in Mountainside. He also contacted Westfield Councilman Mark LoGrippo Garwood Mayor Sara Todisco and State Senator Tom Kean Jr.
"'I'm not a politician," Esposito said. "I just called people I know -- both Republicans and Democrats. I've been getting the word out."
Esposito has proven successful in food drives and fund-raising. He is involved Feed the Frontline - Westfield, which has organized $55,000 worth of meals from local restaurants that are going to first responders and healthcare workers.
He said posting information about Rahway Food for Friends has raised $2,100 for the organization.
"That money will help the soup kitchen for the next month," he said.
If you are in a position to donate money to the Rahway Food for Friends, click here to help.
Rahway Food For Friends, a NJ nonprofit corporation was formed and incorporated in September 2012. It arose from a simple idea..."What are we doing in this community to feed the hungry?" This question was raised by June Koch, a Rahway resident who worshiped at Second Presbyterian Church in Rahway, NJ.
Annual Holiday dinners were celebrated with a Thanksgiving Day Dinner with all the trimmings served on Thanksgiving Day (over 125 guests) and a Christmas Buffet Breakfast, currently a Christmas buffet Dinner with gifts and a visit from Santa, accommodating over 200 people. In 2006, Rosann Tremarco, re-organized the operation bringing it into the 21st century with both the soup kitchen and pantry programs being updated with new programs to enhance the needs in the community for children, babies and buffet-style lunches.