Concerned that donations to the South Brunswick Food Pantry would fall short of last year's totals in the annual Challenge to Fight Hunger, a call for help was once again answered by township residents and businesses. After a busy final week of donations, the pantry was able to outdo last year's highly successful challenge.
"As always, our community came together. It's a wonderful testament to our township that whether in a big way or small way, we are helping to eradicate hunger right here in South Brunswick," said Social Services Director LouAnne Wolf."
The pantry finished the challenge with $43,534.77 in monetary donations and 26,925 food items. In 2011, 19,703 food items and donated $46,126 in cash to the pantry during the Challenge to Fight Hunger. South Brunswick generated the eighth-highest donation total in the state of New Jersey.
"We're ecstatic over the fact that we surpassed last year's total," Wolf said. "We didn't pass the financial end, which we really are in need of, but we needed food too and this was extremely beneficial for us."
Each year, from March 1 through April 30, the Feinstein Foundation challenges anti-hunger agencies across the country to raise funds and collect as many food donations as possible. Alan Shawn Feinstein, founder of The Feinstein Foundation, then divides his donation of $1 million proportionately among approximately 2,000 agencies participating in the challenge. Each food item donated is valued at $1 per item.
Wolf praised the help from numerous individuals, businesses and organizations who aided the pantry during this year's challenge.
S.T. Peterson and Company in Monmouth Junction, First Presbyterian Church of Dayton, and Stop & Shop were three of the top sources for monetary donations.
Community Presbyterian Church of Sand Hills, Indian Fields Elementary School, Knights of Columbus of St. Cecilia's, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, South Brunswick Mom's Club, Sunny Delight, Aptec Packaging, Bunzl, Dow Jones, ADP, St. Cecilia's Church, St. Augustine of Canterbury, and Six Mile Run Church were also instrumental in aiding the pantry during the challenge.
Wolf said the final few days of the challenge saw a huge bump in food donations, aided by the numerous volunteers who gave their time.
"We have fantastic volunteers who came in and helped us immensely," she said. "When I came in on (April 30) we had so much food left for us in the hallway and all day food was coming in. It was really great."
As the largest donation drive until the holidays has been completed, Wolf said help is always appreciated year-round with the number of families in need of assistance rising steadily each month for the last few years.
"If other community members want to contribute food or donate gift cards we can always use the help to aid our less fortunate families," she said.
The South Brunswick Food Pantry's Feinstein Foundation Challenge to Fight Hunger Totals:
Challenge to Fight Hunger
Food Items Donated
Total Challenge Credit
$26,692.70Week 4 $1,034 4,096 $31,822.70 Week 5
$3143,141 $35,277.70 Week 6 $5,349.09 630 $41,256.79 Week 7 $6,693.60 2,362 $50,312.39 Week 8 $4,379.65 3,562 $58,254.04
Week 9 $6,825.73 5,380 $70,459.77 Total $43,534.77 26,925 $70,459.77
For more information on how you can help the South Brunswick Food Pantry call call 732-329-4000 ext. 7674.