Giving Back

Web Portal to Help Fight Hunger Launches with Summit Event Raising Awareness, Funds

The 'main event' of the evening featured a "Celebrity Chef Showdown" between Jumoke Jackson, left, and Kevin Des Chenes. Credits:

SUMMIT, NJ - There are a lot of people who want to help those in need. But sometimes it's hard to find where to go when one wants to help.

Soup Kitchen 411 -- a web portal that identifies soup kitchens and food pantries around the country -- has launched, connecting people with the 700 such locations around the country, so they can make simple decision regarding where and how to get involved.

Summit's St. John's Lutheran Church was the site of a recently-held fundraiser to raise awareness about hunger the portal.

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"Believe it or not, it's quite difficult if you wanted to volunteer at a soup kitchen to find one that will call you back or schedule you to volunteer time," said Laura Ali, Soup Kitchen 411 board member. "It's more difficult than you would think. This gives people an online portal matching soup kitchens in need with people who want to help."

The 'main event' of the event featured two celebrity chefs, Kevin Des Chenes and Jumoke Jackson, going toe-to-toe. The good-spirited food fight entertaining, but not overshadowing the real fight which inspired the evening and the portal itself.

"There's two big pieces, one is that we're really trying to raise awareness," said Steve Klein, board member for Soup Kitchen 411. "There are double digit percentages of people who are food insecure. People don't really know that. They think it only affects a homeless person. Food insecure means that you need help to get through the month, whether it's food stamps or a soup kitchen or some other organization. We want to raise awareness and have a directory so people can find a place wherever they are to connect with a soup kitchen. We researched it and couldn't find anything like it."

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