Sunday, November 23, 2008

November Charity: Community FoodBank

I'm trying something new. Each month, I will highlight a charity (it could be local, national or worldwide) and feature it on my blog. I will be making a $25 donation to that charity. It doesn't seem like much, however that is part of the point of why I'm doing this - to show that every little bit helps. I'm also doing this because charities have been hard hit by the recent economic crisis, and I'm hoping by highlighting a charity a month it will spark others to donate, too - donate money, items, time - anything to help. Choose your favorite charity and help make a difference.

This month's charity is the Community FoodBank of New Jersey Southern Branch. The FoodBank is located in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, and supplies food (and some non-food) items to charities across three counties - Cape May, Atlantic and Cumberland. It also houses its own emergency food pantry. This non-profit is run almost entirely by volunteers, with just a few paid employees, and it relies on the kindness of the communities it supports to keep its shelves stocked.

Unfortunately, an influx of people in need (because of mass layoffs in the area) has been wiping out the FoodBank, and it has been hard to keep its own pantry stocked let alone give supplies to the hundreds of others it works with (these include food pantries, food kitchens, homeless shelters, etc.). Items that are especially needed include turkeys, protein of any type (canned beef stew, canned hams, tuna fish, etc.) and coats.

On Friday I dropped off two turkeys, eight packages of instant mashed potatoes, four cans of green beans, four cans of corn and three cans of gravy to the FoodBank. One of the turkeys I bought for $30. The other was free from Acme's Thanksgiving promotion (spend enough money, get a free turkey). The groceries I bought all on sale and that cost me $20. So for $50*, I supplied enough food for two modest holiday dinners for a family of six.

When I spoke to the FoodBank's director earlier this month, she said, "If everybody could donate, would donate, we'd be in much better shape." She said she understood times being tough - it was tough for her, too - but if she could pay her mortgage, put gas in her car and pay her bills, she could afford $5 or $1 or just one can of food a week to donate to a local food pantry.

That one can of food - to you, it may not seem like a big difference. But to that person it feeds for one meal, it's huge.

*I know I said I'd be donating $25 a month to the charity of choice, however if I am able to, I will certainly try to donate a little bit more than that.

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