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County Gets Ready for Major Food Drive

Middlesex County Food Organization and Outreach Distribution Services holds an annual spring school food drive in county schools.

Students at Cranbury School organized the “canstruction” of a Viking ship as a means to boost collection numbers for the 2013 Spring School Food Drive. Credit: Middlesex County Improvement Authority
Students at Cranbury School organized the “canstruction” of a Viking ship as a means to boost collection numbers for the 2013 Spring School Food Drive. Credit: Middlesex County Improvement Authority
Editor's Note: The following article is courtesy of the Middlesex County Improvement Authority.

The Middlesex County Food Organization and Outreach Distribution Services has its own New Year’s resolution: to beef up participation for the most pivotal drive of 2014.

In its 19th year, MCFOODS Spring School Food Drive has proven itself the largest annual collection among any of the County food bank’s various donation campaigns.

Last year, the drive was the source of approximately 52 tons of donations and a draw for 139 area schools.

“These donations carry us into the summer, when we are desperately trying to keep hungry kids, who are without school food assistance programs, fed,” said Jennifer Apostol, a project manager with the Middlesex County Improvement Authority, the entity that oversees MCFOODS’ operation.  “With the economy still in recovery and with recent cuts to federal benefits, we are seeing a continually growing need even today. So our aim is to rally support where we can.”

Already, Apostol has reached out to most district superintendents in hopes that they might encourage their principals and teachers to get involved.

“This drive can evolve into more than just a moral lesson about giving to those less fortunate,” said Middlesex County Freeholder Blanquita B. Valenti, liaison to MCFOODS. “Creative school activities like making posters, designing collection boxes, counting cans, weighing food or waging a friendly competition between classes can also stem from hosting a drive. But the real upshot is that it will encourage the type of community spirit we want to nurture in our children.”

Currently, MCFOODS’ network consists of approximately 80 food pantries, soup kitchens and other social service organizations, any of which may access weekly distributions at the County food bank’s New Brunswick-based site.

As for a timeline, MCFOODS plans to deliver storage containers, plastic bags for each student and informational flyers to participating schools between March 3 and March 14.  

All donations will be collected between March 31 and April 11.

To complete an enrollment form by the Feb. 20 deadline, interested school employees may contact Apostol at (609) 655-5141 or by emailing ja@mciauth.com.

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