MIDDLESEX COUNTY – While the Middlesex County Food Organization and Outreach Distribution Services (MCFOODS) is facing the usual holiday demand of drumming up extra donations, Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath has only added to that challenge.
Sandy ripped through Central Jersey a little more than two weeks ago, devastating towns like Old Bridge and pantries like Sayreville’s, causing lengthy power outages and an outbreak of food spoilage in places like New Brunswick and prompting mass work closures, indirectly shorting the paychecks of employed residents.
During a typical week, MCFOODS, Middlesex County’s official food bank, would draw-in up to 40 agencies, pantries or other organizations and send out approximately 9 tons of food. As a result of the storm, however, last Wednesday, five additional organizations and six extra pallets of supplies made their way into and out of the New Brunswick distribution warehouse, a location provided by the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve seen some of these organizations,” said Jennifer Apostol, a project manager with the Middlesex County Improvement Authority, the entity that oversees the MCFOODS’ operation. “They were obviously impacted by the storm and it’s not likely that this will be a short-lived re-acquaintanceship.”
Despite donations pouring in from around the region – and even from the out-of-state civilian emergency relief center World Care in Arizona – MCFOODS is making a public appeal for assistance with both its growing weekly disbursements and the provisional Thanksgiving dinners.
“We’re so thankful for the emergency relief we’ve seen thus far,” Apostol said. “At the moment, we are contending with an up tick in demand and a shortage of supplies. Now, more than ever, we need the support of the community; so if you have something to spare, please consider making a donation. They say ‘charity begins at home,’ and there is any number of Middlesex County residents who could use the help.”
Donations can be made year-round at any of the permanent collection sites located at various area libraries. Those participants include libraries located in East Brunswick, Edison, Metuchen, Milltown, Monroe, North Brunswick, Perth Amboy, Piscataway, Plainsboro, South Amboy, South Brunswick, South Plainfield, Spotswood and Woodbridge.