WEST ORANGE, NJ - Gregory neighborhood residents delivered in a big way on Oct. 21 as the eighth annual Food Drive to benefit the Holy Trinity-West Orange Food Pantry filled a U-Haul with thousands of pounds of donations as the holidays approach.

"We tried something a little different this year," Food Pantry administrator Cynthia Cumming said. "We held the drive in October instead of December so we would have a better idea of what we needed heading into Thanksgiving and to fill in the gaps we get once the weather begins to get colder. We also didn't want folks to feel overwhelmed in December when everyone is so busy."

Volunteers throughout the Gregory section of town, under the director of main organizer Amy Hains, helped to pick up donations all around the neighborhood, sort food into crates, load and unload a large U-Haul down at Holy Trinity. 
"We think it may be a record," Hains said as the boxes and crates came rolling in to the pantry.
The food pantry distributes food for between 125 and 150 families per month and provides a wide variety of products based on a par sheet that allows volunteers to know how many items can be distributed depending the number of people in a family.
"We are still one of the few pantries that gives our clients a choice each month," said Cumming, "and we also try to provide some snacks and treats each month along with pantry staples and frozen meat."
"It's the least we can do to bring a smile and provide for the basic needs of people here in Essex County that are food insecure," Cumming said. "Twenty percent of Essex County residents are food insecure. That simply should not be the case in 2018."
The food pantry has begun accepting frozen turkeys and Thanksgiving sides for November distribution. Contact Cumming at heidlercumming@aol.com or (201) 341-9217 for more information.