Religious, Social Service Organizations Join Forces to Fight Hunger

MIDDLESEX COUNTY—A coalition of faith-based and social service agencies kicked off this afternoon a massive food drive to meet escalating demands for emergency food in Middlesex County.

The Middlesex County Coalition to Combat Poverty and Hunger is appealing to residents – especially through houses of worship – to donate non-perishable food and personal items. The event is timed to coincide with the Jewish Passover and Christian Easter holidays.

The idea was the brainchild of a handful of groups looking for ways to help those in need, especially since the economic downturn began to grip the nation and the area. The group also hopes to help families in need enjoy a Passover Seder or Easter dinner.

The project was initiated by the Jewish Federation of Greater Middlesex County, which received an anti-poverty grant from the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, a public policy arm of the Jewish Federation system. 

Representatives from the Jewish Federation, Catholic Charities and the Commission for Ecumenical and Interfaith Initiatives of the Diocese of Metuchen, and the Jewish Family and Vocational Services of Greater Middlesex County are coordinating the effort to fill the shelves of food pantries and soup kitchens throughout the County.

They enlisted the help of the Middlesex County Food Organization and Outreach Distributions Services (M.C.F.O.O.D.S.), which is operated by the Middlesex County Improvement Authority and supported by the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders. M.C.F.O.O.D.S. is a centralized food bank that serves more than 65 local food pantries and soup kitchens.  

The Presbyterian Church of Jamesburg, the Islamic Society of Central Jersey, the United Way of Central Jersey and the NJ State Association of Jewish Federations also have joined the cause.

Nonperishable food and personal items, such as baby supplies and toiletries, will be collected now through April 14 at drop-off locations throughout the county (see list below).

Items most needed include tea, coffee, cocoa, juices, boxed milk, canned fruits, vegetables, soups, tuna fish and meats, jams, peanut butter, pasta, rice, cereals, macaroni and cheese and healthy snacks, such as Jell-o, granola, and fruit and cereal bars.

Food, personal items or monetary donations may be dropped off at:

• The Jewish Family and Vocational Service of Middlesex County (Kosher food), 52 Concordia Plaza, Monroe Township, 609-395-7979 or 32 Ford Avenue, 2nd Floor, Milltown, 732-777-1940

• United Way of Central Jersey, 32 Ford Avenue, 1st Floor, Milltown 732-247-3727

• The Jewish Federation of Greater Middlesex County (Kosher food)

230 Old Bridge Turnpike, South River, 732-432-7711

Food and personal items – no monetary donations – are accepted by M.C.F.O.O.D.S. Businesses, religious and community organizations may call for a pick-up of food donations, 732-729-0880. Individual donations may be brought to the public libraries in East Brunswick, South Brunswick, North Brunswick, Edison, Metuchen, Milltown, Monroe, Perth Amboy, Plainsboro, South Plainfield, Spotswood and Woodbridge.

All donations for Passover food must be stamped or marked Kosher for Passover – OU OK, star K, KK accepted.

For more information about the coalition, contact Gabriela Sadote Sleppin at the Jewish Federation at 732-432-7711 or

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