A "Neighborly" Way to Stock Your Local Food Bank

September 23, 2009 -- M.C.F.O.O.D.S., Middlesex County’s food bank, has been coordinating neighborhood food drives all around the county, and these food drives have been helpful in adding inventory to the warehouse, especially during certain time periods when food supplies are extremely low.

Freeholder Blanquita Valenti, Liaison to M.C.F.O.O.D.S. said “We are attempting to individualize efforts for increasing food donations. We want to make it easy and convenient for people to help feed hungry families in Middlesex County.” She added, “Every year donations of canned goods and other food supplies to M.C.F.O.O.D.S. have been increasing, but the need continues to far outweigh the donations.”

“We have been helping people organize food drives in their own neighborhoods. This began with some students who wanted to earn community service credits right where they live,” said M.C.F.O.O.D.S. coordinator, Jennifer Apostol. She continued, “We directed them to craft notices, to distribute the notices in their local neighborhood and to either direct food donations to be dropped off at the volunteer’s home or to pick up food donations or to direct food donations to a drop-off bin at the municipal library.”

This effort was carried out by individuals, and in some instances several people joined together to run the campaign. It’s also a great opportunity for small clubs and organizations with charitable goals.

A similar effort on a little larger scale was a July food collection program for M.C.F.O.O.D.S. through the efforts of Mayor Brian Wahler and Pisca taway Township.

Partnering with United Way of Central Jersey and Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Services Inc. the municipality made several collection sites available. Johnson & Johnson volunteer employees (recruited by United Way) distributed food bags in a Piscataway neighborhood, and neighbors filled the food bags and dropped them off at the designated sites.

For anyone interested in organizing a neighborhood food drive, contact Jennifer Apostol at 609-409-5033 or

M.C.F.O.O.D.S. is Middlesex County’s food distribution program serving more than 70 food pantries and soup kitchens in Middlesex County.