Twenty Maplewood Middle School students volunteered this week at the Interfaith Food Pantry of the Oranges.
Under the guidance of Ray Mantes, an MMS 6th grade Social Studies and WIN teacher, the students helped themselves by helping others with a visit to the pantry on Wednesday, November 16.
“We helped put out food, served the clients, played with clients’ children, smiled and so much more,” reported MMS parent Judie Hurtado. “I was so inspired by what I saw today. Super big shout out to Mr. Mantes and all the students who served for over three hours this morning!”
IFPO is a client choice food pantry, one of a handful in New Jersey. Clients have a “grocery store experience” where they are allocated points based on the number of family members and then select their own food items rather than being given a set bag of groceries.
According to the pantry website, “This process encourages healthy choices while also serving clients with dignity and respect. Under this system, clients do not receive food that they don’t like or cannot eat for health or personal reasons.”
Hurtado noted that the pantry is expecting “hundreds of people these next few weeks due to the upcoming holidays” and will be in need of more volunteer help. She added that it’s easy to get to IFPO from SOMA: “We took a train ride to Brick Church and then walked a few blocks to their location.”
It was a win for both the clients and the students.
“Awesome children spreading kindness and love by volunteering at the Food Pantry of the Oranges today,” wrote Mr. Mantes on his Facebook page.
Learn more about IFPO and how to help at orangesfoodpantry.org.
Read more coverage of IFPO’s Full Client Choice program here:
Photos by Ray Mantes. Click to enlarge: