Calling themselves "Food for Friendz," the kids attended several township-wide events this summer selling various baked goods and snacks to raise funds for the South Brunswick Food Pantry. In the process, the group raised close to $600 for township residents in need.
"Last year (group member Shreya Agrawal) came up with the (fundraising) idea for a social studies project, but instead of keeping the money it was given to the less fortunate," said Food for Friendz member Apoorva Goel.
This was the second summer in a row the group spent raising money to help others, as they collected money last year to aid the American Cancer Society. This year, the friends turned their attention to the South Brunswick Food Pantry, which can use all the help it can get from the community with record numbers coming in for assistance.
In July alone, the pantry served 88 families, while Social Services provided financial assistance to 14 families. The department also saw over 150 families in April and May, with an average of three new families per month.
The assistance from Food for Friendz comes at a time of year when donations historically tend to drop drastically.
"These kids have been very involved in this endeavor and I look forward to their continued support in the future," said Social Services Director LouAnne Wolf.
Thus far this summer, the group has volunteered at the Independence Day Festival at Crossroads Middle School on July 3, the Magic Show and Movie Night at Beech Woods Park on July 26, the Hidden Gems concert on Aug. 2, and National Night Out at Rowland Park on Aug. 6.
"We found events that we thought a lot of people would come to and would be good for our selling," Apoorva said. "We picked the stuff that would sell the most with kids, and we sold cold drinks at events where it was hot."
In addition to Apoorva, kids in the group donating their time for the events included Shivam Agrawal, Shreya Agrawal, Pragya Goel, Nikhil Jadav, Nikita Jadav, Sumedh Kamath, Abhik Khanna, Ishika Khanna, Richa Patel and Ritu Patel. Apporva said the group's new summer tradition of giving back to their community is something they plan on continuing throughout their high school years.
"We plan on doing this every summer until we start college," she said. "It feels really good because instead of just laying around all summer we're helping people and it feels like we accomplished something."