Several months ago I created a Facebook Group, “Feed SOMany” (South Orange Maplewood) with the idea of spreading awareness of the needs of local food pantries in our two towns. The idea of the group was to post the needs of the pantries and share information about hunger in our area.
In March, I posted in the group that I would be dropping off food donations to The Food Pantry at Our Lady of Sorrows. I let them know that I’d save them a trip to the pantry and if they just left food on my door step I’d deliver it for them. With FOURTEEN donated bags in just a two days, I realized I was onto something!
I contacted Kate Cahill, co-organizer of The Food Pantry at OLS and together we came up with the idea of NEIGHBORHOOD FOOD DRIVES. Each month, there will be a themed collection. First, I asked for people to volunteer to be a drop off point for their neighborhood. Their job entails collecting the food, checking expiration dates, spreading the word in their neighborhood to let others know about the food drives and delivering the items to the food pantry on a specific date.
Currently, we have 30 drop off spots around Maplewood and South Orange, but we would like to get more.
March was “BREAKFAST FOODS” and we collected cereal, shelf-stable milk, oatmeal and all breakfast themed foods. 133 patrons received food the weekend after our March collection and they average 125-150 patrons each Saturday, so there is a great need for donations.
Our April collection is “LUNCH FOODS” which includes, tuna fish, peanut butter, macaroni and cheese and low sodium soups. We try to be careful with foods that have high sodium content. Many who are food insecure already get significant exposures to salt and sugar because most inexpensive processed foods are loaded with them. All food due to your drop off post by April 8th. The May collection will be announced after that.
Please join our Feed SOMany Facebook group to find the drop off point in your area or to volunteer to be a drop off point. If you are not on Facebook and would still like to help, contact Claire Sinclair at [email protected] for more information.