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'STEP' Up and Help End Hunger

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Credits: ucnj.org
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 The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to announce that online voting has begun for the 2017 UC-STEP countywide community service project. The annual event is created and run by sophomore and junior high school students participating in the Union County Student Training and Enrichment Program.

This year’s community service theme addresses the problem of food insecurity and hunger in local neighborhoods, especially among children.

“Over the past four years, UC-STEP has provided hundreds of high school juniors and seniors with a chance to meet and collaborate with their peers all across Union County, to create service projects that engage the whole community. UC-STEP is a rewarding experience that underscores how young people can make a real difference, by pulling together for a good cause,” said Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen.

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“There are three wonderful ideas on the table, and I am very proud of all the students who participated,” said Freeholder Linda Carter. “They brought their enthusiasm, creativity and a lot of heart to make this year’s UC-STEP summit a success.”

UC-STEP was initiated by Freeholder Carter in 2013, when she served as Chairman. The focus of the program is a day-long youth development summit in December.

The highlight of the summit is an exercise in which teams of students collaborate to create ideas for community service projects. The ideas are put up for a public vote, and the winning idea is developed as a countywide community service effort with support from the Freeholder Board.

This year, 195 students from 27 high schools participated in the UC-STEP summit.

The three ideas to be voted on are:

Miles for Meals -- a fundraising event that incorporates a 5k run with local performing talent and food concessions.  Registration fees will go to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, and a portion of the proceeds from food sales will go to ending childhood hunger.

Flip for Food -- a school vs. school water bottle flipping team competition. Schools will contribute an entry fee to participate, and the fees will go to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey.

Kans 4 Kids -- a collection project that will focus on nutritious canned goods. Student teams from different schools will assemble the cans for display in a structure-building contest that helps to draw attention to the issue of food insecurity.

Votes may be cast on the UC-STEP website at ucnj2.org/uc-step or on the UC-STEP Facebook page. Voting closes on January 5, and the winning project will be announced on January 8.

For more information about UC-STEP and to view recorded student presentations about the three projects, visit ucnj2.org/uc-step.

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