United Way Awardee Helped Feed County Residents in Need

May 1, 2008 -- Hess Corporation once again proved itself to be a good neighbor to the people of Middlesex County when it collected 19,000 pounds – or 9.5 tons – of food to be distributed through the County food bank.

No other company in the 14-year history of Middlesex County Food Organization and Outreach Distribution Services (M.C.F.O.O.D.S.) has run such a successful campaign – not even close.

The incredible drive last November and the corporation’s continued support of the County food bank earned Hess the distinction of being named a 2008 Hometown Hero by the Central New Jersey United Way.

“Hess Corporation always responds to the immediate and changing needs of the hungry in Middlesex County,” said Jennifer Apostol, M.C.F.O.O.D.S. Coordinator, who nominated Hess for the award. “Their longstanding commitment to M.C.F.O.O.D.S. and the competitive nature of their most recent drive along with leadership from the company executives set them apart from any of the other businesses that have run food drives for M.C.F.O.O.D.S.”

M.C.F.O.O.D.S. is operated by the Middlesex County Improvement Authority (MCIA) with support from Middlesex County.

Apostol said she put out an urgent call for food donations last fall. Hess executives stepped up to the plate, she said, initiating a friendly competition with another County-based company and also starting an interdepartmental competition at its Woodbridge headquarters. --MORE--

In two weeks, the Hess employees collected enough food to fill 380 green M.C.F.O.O.D.S. collection bins. Each bin holds approximately 50 pounds of food.

“Their very generous donations helped to keep our shelves stocked through the winter months, when we are usually desperate for donations,” Apostol said. “Their efforts also raise community awareness about our program that inspires future contributions or volunteer activities by others.”

M.C.F.O.O.D.S. is the County’s centralized food bank that distributes non-perishable foods and personal items to 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.

Each year, about 140 tons of food are collected through a number of corporate and organizational food drives, individual donations and permanent drop-off sites located at libraries and other public buildings throughout the County.

The annual Spring Schools Food Drive just ended, bringing in about 50 tons of food from 161 public and private schools. Next up is the annual Letter Carrier’s Food Drive, a coordinated effort between the MCIA and local members of the National Association of Letter Carriers from the New Brunswick, North Brunswick and Highland Park post offices.

M.C.F.O.O.D.S. is always looking for volunteers to stock shelves and sort donations at its warehouse on Jersey Avenue in New Brunswick.

To organize a drive, make an individual donation or volunteer, please call Jennifer Apostol at 609-409-5033. .