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Freeholders Recognize Schools for Food Drive Efforts

Five schools collected over 3,500 pounds each

May 19, 2008 -- About 51.8 tons of food were collected for Middlesex County residents in need during the annual Spring Schools Food Drive sponsored by the County’s food bank.

Students from 161 public and private schools throughout the County participated in the 12th annual drive, which benefits Middlesex County Food Organization and Outreach Distribution Services (M.C.F.O.O.D.S.)

The Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders recognized all schools that collected more than 1,000 pounds at its regular meeting last night.

“Year in and year out, our students embrace this drive with such great enthusiasm,” Valenti said. “It is wonderful to see our young people taking such an active role in community service and in helping their neighbors. We are all so proud of them.”

This year, five schools each collected more than 3,500 pounds of food. A sixth school collected more than 2,000 pounds, and 22 schools collected more than 1,000 pounds each.

Leading the school pack for the second year in a row was the Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Technology, whose 150 students collected 5,430 pounds of food. One 50-pound collection bin was filled by every 1.3 students, representing the lowest student-to-bin ratio.

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Campbell School in Metuchen filled 85 bins, collecting about 4,250 pounds of food.

Students from South Brunswick High School, a first-time participant, took turns manning collection spots at five grocery store locations throughout town soliciting donations from shoppers. Their efforts resulted in 81 bins or 4,050 pounds of donations.

For the fourth year in a row, East Brunswick High School was among the top three contributors. This year, students donated about 76 containers or 3,800 pounds of food. Students at Livingston School in New Brunswick took part in classroom competitions to generate enthusiasm for the drive. The school filled 70 bins with about 3,500 pounds of food.

Frost School in East Brunswick ran its drive through a student community service club. Their efforts resulted in 2,200 pounds of food collected.

For the first time, area businesses partnered with local schools and matched the food donations with grocery store gift card donations. Contributors included CME Associates of Sayreville, Magyar Bank of New Brunswick, Pathmark of Carteret, and Gloria Zastko Realtors of North Brunswick.

M.C.F.O.O.D.S. serves more than 65 local food pantries, soup kitchens and other emergency food providers throughout the County. About 25 other agencies, including residential facilities, shelters, social service agencies, programs for women and children, senior citizen housing facilities and other outreach services, also use M.C.F.O.O.D.S. stock.

The annual schools drive is the largest single event for M.C.F.O.O.D.S. each year.

Other drives annual drives include a Letter Carriers drive in May and one held at Monroe Township’s seven adult communities each October.

Corporations, organizations and individuals also host drives throughout the year. M.C.F.O.O.D.S. also maintains permanent drop-off locations at libraries and other public buildings throughout the County.

For information on M.C.F.O.O.D.S. or on hosting a drive, please call Jennifer Apostol, M.C.F.O.O.D.S. coordinator, at 609-409-5033. .

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