County’s partnership with FoodBank aims to restock shelves
The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders is continuing its springtime partnership with the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties and collecting non-perishable food for the entire month of April.
“One in every 10 people in Monmouth County receives emergency food from the FoodBank’s network of pantries, soup kitchens and other agencies,” Freeholder John P. Curley said. “The spring is when donations to the Food Bank fall off and Monmouth County is willing to help increase awareness to this problem and take the lead in getting food donations.”
Collection bins will be available at many county locations, including the Monmouth County Hall of Records, Agriculture Building, Care Centers, Longstreet Farm, Manasquan Reservoir Environmental Center, Belford Ferry Terminal, and Monmouth County branch libraries.
Food items suitable for donation are non-perishable, protein-rich foods such as peanut butter, granola bars, and tuna fish. Other most needed food items are ready-to-eat canned meals, canned fruits, canned vegetables, instant potatoes, canned and dry soup, canned pork and beans, canned juices, sip-size juices, and hot and cold cereal.
This is the county’s third consecutive April food drive. To date, Monmouth County residents have helped send 20 tons, more than 45,000 pounds, of non-perishable food to the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties. This year’s goal is to collect 25,000 pounds of non-perishable food.
“The county’s libraries and parks are the public gathering places in many communities, so it makes sense that our libraries and parks are key collection points for this annual food drive,” said Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry. “The other donation locations are places where our residents often do business with the county, so we are providing convenient locations for employees and residents.”
“When the FoodBank started 25 years ago it distributed 100,000 pounds of food,” said Carlos M. Rodriguez, executive director of the FoodBank. “Last year, we supplied more than 260 food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters with 8.5 million pounds of food. We continue to experience an increase in the demand for emergency food. The need is here.”
The county’s partnership with the FoodBank stems from a situation in 2012, in which the County Social Services office was experiencing a backlog processing applications for food stamps. Curley, as liaison to Social Services, declared a food stamp emergency in Monmouth County and immediately hired part-time clerical workers to help ease the backlog. “When people get turned away from food stamps, they turn to the FoodBank,” Curley said.
The county’s Made In Monmouth event set for April 12 at Monmouth University will be another opportunity for residents to donate. The one-day showcase and shopping festival of products, all made in Monmouth County, will have food donation collection bins at the entrance.
“The Made In Monmouth vendors are being asked to contribute to Monmouth County’s April food drive, too,” said Freeholder Thomas A. Arnone. “So, when you head over to Made in Monmouth, please consider bringing a nonperishable food donation; admission is free to the event.”
“The FoodBank’s shelves are empty,” Freeholder Serena DiMaso said. “This month long food drive will help the fill the shelves at time of year when donations are unusually low. There are so many residents in need and we all need to do our part to help our friends and neighbors. The need for food does not go away.”
April is also National County Government Month, sponsored by the National Association of Counties (NACo), that has been designed to increase awareness of county governments and their operations. The freeholders have chosen the food drive as a way to engage citizens and serve the community.
“The 2014 Monmouth County Food Drive is the county’s way of making a difference in the daily lives of some of our neighbors,” Freeholder Deputy Director Gary J. Rich Sr. said. “When our citizens are engaged, our communities are improved. This April’s food drive is a great start.”
2014 Monmouth County Food Drive drop-off locations
Atlantic Highlands – Atlantic Highlands Library, 100 First Ave.
Colts Neck – Colts Neck Library, 1 Winthrop Dr.
Freehold Borough – Hall of Records & Annex, 1 E. Main St.
Freehold Borough – County Clerk’s Office, 33 Mechanic St.
Freehold Borough – Prosecutor’s Office, 132 Jerseyville Ave.
Freehold Township – Monmouth County Agriculture Building, 4000 Kozloski Rd.
Freehold Township – Human Services Building, 3000 Kozloski Rd.
Freehold Township – Public Works Complex, 250 Center St.
Freehold Township – John L. Montgomery Care Center, 115 Dutch Lane Rd.
Freehold Township – Special Services, 300 Halls Mills Rd.
Hazlet – Hazlet Library, 251 Middle Rd.
Holmdel – Longstreet Farm Visitor Center, Longstreet Road
Howell – Howell Library, 318 Old Tavern Rd.
Howell – Manasquan Reservoir Environmental Center, 331 Georgia Tavern Rd.
Manalapan – Monmouth County Library Headquarters, 125 Symmes Dr., Manalapan
Marlboro – Marlboro Library, 1 Library Ct. & Wyncrest Dr.
Middletown, Belford – Belford Ferry Terminal, 10 Harbor Way
Middletown, Lincroft – Thompson Park Visitor Center, 805 Newman Springs Rd.
Neptune Township – Monmouth County Connection, 3544 Highway 66
Ocean – Ocean Library, 701 Deal Rd.
Shrewsbury – Monmouth County Library Eastern Branch, 1001 Rt. 35
Wall – Wall Library, 2700 Allaire Rd.
Wall – Geraldine L Thompson Care Center, 2350 Hospital Rd., Allenwood
West Long Branch – West Long Branch Library, 95 Poplar Ave.