SOMERSET COUNTY, NJ - Generous residents once again helped make Thanksgiving special for needy families through the Adopt-A-Family program promoted by the Somerset County Board of Freeholders and mayors in the county’s 21 municipalities.
 
The Samaritan Homeless Interim Program received $6,500 in donations; the Food Bank Network of Somerset County, $5,705; the Hillsborough Food Pantry, $5,500; the Reformed Church of Bound Brook Food Ministries, $1,160; and the Franklin Township Food Bank, $1,846, for a total of $20,711.  Each participating organization saw a significant increase in donations this year.
 
 
A $40 donation, or any amount, was requested to provide a Thanksgiving meal to a family of four.  Donors could designate which town their donation would go to, if they wished.  The amount collected this year represents a 39-percent increase over last year’s total of $14,911.  Since its inception in 2010, the program has raised a total of $58,278.
 
“This year we saw another tremendous outpouring of support from our residents,” said Freeholder Patricia Walsh.  “We often hear that people want to help others within their own community, and this is a perfect way for residents to earmark donations to help feed needy families in their own towns.” 
 
The Adopt-A-Family program was created by Ray Walsh of Manville (no relation to Freeholder Walsh). “Our local food banks have seen a tremendous increase in the number of people seeking help during the past few years due to the recession,” said Ray Walsh.  “The goal of the Adopt-A-Family program is to make Somerset County the first in New Jersey to feed all of its needy residents.”