MIDDLESEX COUNTY — M.C.F.O.O.D.S., Middlesex County’s food bank, recently sent out a plea asking local organizations to step up their efforts to help supply the M.C.F.O.O.D.S. warehouse with food supplies due to the ever-increasing demand for food from local soup kitchens and food pantries.
The response has been overwhelming, and local groups have not only expressed their generosity but they have crafted food drives that have displayed imagination and resourcefulness.
Middlesex County Freeholder Blanquita Valenti, the liaison to M.C.F.O.O.D.S., commented “The Board of Freeholders is extremely grateful to those businesses and organizations that have responded to the call for help, and we are impressed by the unique methods they have used. These are great models for other groups to follow when they are planning their own food drives in 2010.”
Some examples of this creativity include the Rutgers Against Hunger group that has run M.C.F.O.O.D.S. events all year including a recent dodge ball competition. IEEE in Piscataway incorporated M.C.F.O.O.D.S. into their annual holiday giving tree by hanging ornaments encouraging employees to donate specific food items.
The Ray Catena Service Center in Edison offered customers who bring in food supplies special offers. The Starland Ballroom in Sayreville is collecting food at all shows during the month of December. The Hess Corporation in Woodbridge, a long-time food drive sponsor, held a special competition among employees on various floors thereby increasing amounts of food collected and a basket auction that raised funds to purchase additional food items. Karen Salowe of Old Bridge held a yard sale and donated the proceeds to M.C.F.O.O.D.S.
United Way of Central Jersey tapped into their network of businesses and encouraged them to run food drives, and they also recruited corporate contributions and volunteers on M.C.F.O.O.D.S.’ behalf.
Students throughout the county accepted the M.C.FO.O.D.S. challenge and food was collected at games and events of the Monroe High School girl’s basketball team, the East Brunswick High School marching band as well as the student councils of Edison High School and J.P. Stevens High School and Metuchen High School.
A number of middle schools, elementary schools and preschools throughout the county also ran food drives. The East Brunswick Youth Council held a number of food drives outside the Acme in Milltown.
Some ongoing food drives to keep in mind are collections at weekly religious services at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Metuchen, Temple B’Nai Shalom, Our Savior Lutheran Church, and the Chinese Evangelical Church in East Brunswick, Grace Lutheran Church in Perth Amboy and the Church of Jesus Christ in Edison.
The meetings of the East Brunswick and Edison AARP and the Middlesex County Retired Educators collect food as do many senior centers in the county. The State Theatre in New Brunswick is collecting food at the Dec. 19 and 20 performances of the Nutcracker, and the New Brunswick City Market is also collecting at horse and carriage rides they are sponsoring until Dec. 19.
In addition, non-perishable donations are accepted on behalf of emergency food providers all year round at the public libraries in East Brunswick, Edison, Metuchen, Milltown, Monroe, North Brunswick, Perth Amboy, Plainsboro, South Brunswick, South Plainfield, Spotswood, and Woodbridge.
Some of the most needed items include peanut butter, rice, cereal, vegetables, soups, stews and pasta as well as personal products and baby items.
Traditionally, those who wanted to make a monetary donation to M.C.F.O.O.D.S. were encouraged to donate supermarket gift cards. M.C.F.O.O.D.S. now can accept checks, which should be made out to M.C.F.O.O.D.S. and mailed to M,C.F.O.O.D.S., c/o the Middlesex County Improvement Authority, 101 Interchange Plaza, Suite 202, Cranbury, NJ 08512.
Anyone who would like to hold a food drive should contact M.C.F.O.O.D.S. coordinator Jennifer Apostol at 1-609-409-5033 or firstname.lastname@example.org. M.C.F.O.O.D.S. will supply transportation, food containers, and promotional materials including food bags.
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