SPRINGFIELD, NJ — Over the weekend, members of the Springfield community showed up in full force to help those struggling with food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the course of the morning, thanks to generous donations from community members in the run-up to the drive, the group was able to meet and surpass their original goal of donating 200 boxes of food to those in need. The group also exceeded the 500-box milestone, giving away 580 boxes.

Staging all that food at Jonathan Dayton High School, volunteers boxed it up beforehand, and had it ready to go that morning.

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Mayor Chris Capodice and Fred Scott, the local organizers for the event had prior experience in the drive-thru pantry game, having held a similar event in Union weeks ago. That event, which laid the groundwork for this one showed the duo that volunteers could be had.

For Scott, seeing the willingness of Springfield residents to jump up and volunteer is not something that's surprising, but it is always wonderful for him to see.

"Anytime there's anything going on in the Springfield community, everybody comes out to work together, which is great to see," Scott said. "It means a lot to be able to reach the people who need it the most and the township is always there for everybody, so it's a good feeling."

Scott also noted how the volunteers broke across every political and racial boundary that normally divide residents. As he noted, it was "people helping people," which is something he said the town needs more of.

"This is an event that tugs at your heart-strings," Capodice said." And there's nothing like bringing a community together to help those in need, especially around this time. I am grateful and floored by the amount of support, whether it was by volunteerism or donations.

"I would be remiss if I did not mention the fire local [FMBA] 57 for their support. Also, the Springfield Presbyterian Church, Regal Bank and so many others [...] I just appreciate all the support in the community coming together to help those in need."

For Reggie and Yvette Anderson, who run the MTN Organization behind the pantry drive, seeing Springfield's charitable nature in full force was something that made them so happy.

"When we pulled up, we saw an army of people," Reggie said. "And everyone was really organized, so i really commend Springfield on all they're doing, and bringing all these people together."

Yvette added, "It's a great thing to partner with towns like Springfield, that buy into what we're doing, and want to bring it to their community. So to have them come down and pick up over 500 boxes of non-perishables and then the same in perishables and store that is an amazing thing. It's a great community effort to be able to come together and be able to do those type of things to make sure that the community is fed, especially during COVID."

To learn more about similar events by the MTN Organization, or to host a similar event, visit the website at https://www.andersonsmeettheneed.org/.