SOMERVILLE, NJ - Somerset County residents donated over 65,000 pounds of food during the annual Curbing Hunger Month sponsored by the Somerset County Freeholders.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you!" exclaimed Freeholder Director Patricia Walsh. "We exceeded our goal by 15,000 pounds,” she added.
Donations to the 22nd annual Curbing Hunger fooFresh fruit and vegetables were donated online via AmpYourGood.com. Also included were 2,905 pounds collected by Bound Brook schools in their second districtwide Curbing Hunger Month drive, and 253 pounds from a first-time collection at Stony Brook School in Branchburg.
“This outpouring of community support has been a tremendous asset to our local food banks,” Walsh said. “As the Curbing Hunger Inc. slogan says, ‘hunger doesn’t take a vacation’ – these donations are more important than ever at this time of year.”
Food supplies are traditionally low during the summer months, when school lunch programs close and there are no holiday food drives. That’s why the Curbing Hunger food drive is held in June to help alleviate this annual shortage.
The Food Bank Network of Somerset County, the Franklin Township Food Bank and local food pantries have seen unprecedented increases in the number of people they are serving as a result of the economic crisis.
The Food Bank Network serves close to 1,400 families a month. Many people who were previously using the food bank only occasionally for emergencies now are regular visitors. Some who previously donated to the agency now are now clients.
Curbing Hunger started as a pilot program in Somerset County in 1995 and was expanded to several other counties in New Jersey. Since then, more than 2.3 million pounds of food have been collected statewide, valued at over $3.8 million. More than 2 million pounds have been collected in Somerset County alone.
The Curbing Hunger campaign is a joint effort of the Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the county Recycling Center, county and municipal public works departments, the Food Bank Network of Somerset County and Curbing Hunger Inc.
Supporters of the program this year were MyCentralJersey.com and the Courier News, as well as the PeopleCare Center for Nonprofits Inc. in Bridgewater. St. Mark’s Episcopal Church of Basking Ridge is a founding sponsor.
Anyone wishing to make a monetary donation at any time during the year may send a check to Curbing Hunger Inc., P.O. Box 202, Basking Ridge, NJ 07920. For more information, call 908-344-5571.
Residents also can make regular donations of non-perishable food every month. Canned goods now are collected at the curb year-round on recycling days in each town; just put them in any plastic bag and mark it “Food.”
As part of the “Buy One, Bring One” (BOBO) Fridays program, canned and boxed goods can be dropped off at the county administration building, at several county library branches, at various municipal buildings and several other public locations. Non-perishables also can be donated at any First Saturday of the Month recycling drop-off at the county recycling center.