NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

FIGHTING HUNGER IN MIDDLESEX COUNTY

July 2, 2009 -- Piscataway Township, United Way of Central Jersey, Volunteers from Johnson and Johnson Health Care Systems, Inc. Partner with M.C.F.O.O.D.S. To Provide Emergency Food

A pilot food drive has been organized in Piscataway Township neighborhoods to help meet the summer food needs of the Piscataway Township Social Service Department and more than 70 food pantries and soup kitchens served by the Middlesex County Food Organization and Outreach Distribution Services (M.C.F.O.O.D.S.). Summer is traditionally a difficult time for emergency food providers, and the economic downturn has added to the situation.

Freeholder Blanquita Valenti, The Freeholder Liaison to M.C.F.O.O.D.S., Middlesex County’s food bank, said, “By the summer months, holiday and spring school drive food supplies are running low. Low income children are home from school and not receiving schools meals.” She added, “It is a crucial time for stocking the shelves of soup kitchens and food pantries in the County.”

In an attempt to help solve the problem, a partnership was formed with Piscataway Township locating neighborhoods for a food drive and supplying drop-off sites in the Township; United Way of Central Jersey working with Johnson and Johnson Health Care Systems Inc. to designate a Day of Caring for employee volunteers to distribute food bags; and M.C.F.O.O.D.S. to providing food bins at the Piscataway Municipal Building on Hoes Lane and the Piscataway Library and Senior Center on Buena Vista Drive as well as providing transportation of the collected food.

“There is an increasing recognition that many more individuals and families are in need of emergency food. I know our Piscataway residents are caring and generous so we are pleased to be a part of this pilot program that will help not only our residents but people throughout the county. We expect our residents’ generosity will make a significant difference and will touch the lives of many in need,” commented Mayor Brian C. Wahler of Piscataway.

On July 9 th, 25 volunteers will be distributing orange M.C.F.O.O.D.S. bags in the designated neighborhoods with flyers explaining how the food drive works. Residents can place food and personal care items in the bags and drop off the bags at the three collection locations between July 9 th and July 24 th.

Gloria Aftanski, Chief Professional Officer of United Way of Central Jersey said, “The employees and administration of Johnson and Johnson Health Care Systems Inc. have worked with United Way in many successful volunteer efforts.” She continued, “This pilot program in Piscataway allows the employees to make a difference right in their local community, and it will have a real impact on emergency food supplies in Middlesex County.”

Besides donating food at the Piscataway locations, residents can also make a financial contribution via the United Way of Central Jersey web site: https://www.uwcj.org/GiftAmount/aspx or by telephoning United Way at 732-247-3727. 100% of proceeds will be used to purchase food.

According to M.C.F.O.O.D.S. Coordinator, Jennifer Apostol, if this pilot program is successful, it could be expanded within the Township or used as a role model for other municipal food drives in the future.

For more information, contact Jennifer Apostol at ja@mciauth.com or 732-729-0880.

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