Over the Fourth of July weekend the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, Inc. (NJMEP) and Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey (CIANJ) are launching their second annual food drive as a “Manufacturing Cares” project to benefit the Community FoodBank of New Jersey.

More than 2.5 tons of food were collected for needy families last year and NJMEP and CIANJ expect this year’s joint effort will do even more. “Manufacturing Cares” was created by the two business groups to tap into the generous spirit of the industry. They will be collecting non-perishable food stuffs at their workshops, roundtables and other programs throughout the summer and fall, culminating with the Manufacturing Day conference on Oct. 7, 2016 at The Palace at Somerset Park. 

Manufacturing Day is an annual tribute to the importance of manufacturing in the nation’s economy. New Jersey is home to more than 11,000 manufacturers and firms that specialize in science, technology and engineering, commonly known as STEM companies. The Manufacturing Day program draws a huge audience and features panel discussions on business innovations, as well as an awards presentation to outstanding companies.  

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Everyone attending Manufacturing Day and other events organized by NJMEP and CIANJ are encouraged to bring donations for the food drive. The non-perishable items can be dropped off in marked bins at the events. Donations are also accepted online at a virtual food drive set up by the Community Foodbank at http://support.cfbnj.org/goto/cianj-njmep16​ Contributors can make donations on the site and see what kinds of food their donations will buy. 

Manufacturing has always been the backbone of New Jersey’s economy – producing goods used throughout the world and sustaining generations of workers and their families. “Through our Manufacturing Cares project we are extending the reach of manufacturers and giving back to the community,” said John W. Kennedy, CEO of NJMEP. NJMEP works with all of New Jersey’s manufacturers, but with an area of focus on the small to mid-sized manufacturers to help them become more efficient, profitable and globally competitive.

“At its heart, a food drive is very basic  – it’s neighbors helping neighbors – but it is critical to those who need it,” said John Galandak, president of the CIANJ, a statewide business advocacy organization representing more than 900 companies from every business sector, including manufacturers.

“We hope our food drive will make a difference by helping our neediest neighbors,” said Kennedy, “While bringing a spotlight on how the manufacturing industry always steps up to support others."

The Community FoodBank of NJ distributes food, provides education and training and develops programs to help hungry people throughout the state. Since its incorporation in 1982, the foodbank and its partners have helped feed more than 900,000 people a year. 

More information about Manufacturing Day is available at www.njmep.org. For more information on CIANJ go to www.cianj.og