Hunger is a huge challenge facing New Jersey.

A million people in our state are food insecure. Almost 900,000 people in our state (many of them children and seniors) rely on food banks, and that number is climbing.

Federal and state assistance is increasingly cut, and as the population continues to age, more and more families are being forced to make donated food an ongoing, basic part of their plan to make ends meet.

“Many people in our Jewish community want to help, but don’t know how. Federation’s Center for Volunteerism exists to connect those who want to donate their time with the agencies that need them,” says Supermarket Sweep co-chair Elyse Deutsch.

Our Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ’s Supermarket Sweep Foodraiser event has been a popular family volunteer activity for years. This year’s day-long event will be held this Thursday, July 14 at the ShopRite on Central Ave. in Clark, scheduled during its Can-Can sale. All food collected will go to the food pantry at Jewish Family Service (JFS) of Central NJ in Elizabeth, benefitting food insecure families in Union County.

Supermarket Sweep will have three sessions. You can participate in any or all of them. There’ll be a morning shopping session at ShopRite, an afternoon sorting and unpacking session at JFS Central, and a special evening Family Shopping session at ShopRite. This year’s program is being hosted in partnership with Camp Yachad, the summer day camp associated with the JCC of Central NJ. Campers and their families can come as part of their summer family camp programs, but all families in the community are encouraged to participate. Participants will receive a list of most-needed items and there’ll be a scavenger hunt for kids.

JFS Central is one of six Federation agencies working to fight hunger in our community. Its Food Pantry distributes 136 boxes of food monthly, and an additional 55 emergency bags each month to people needing immediate assistance. In addition to the support they receive from Federation, they rely on government funds, donations from grocery stores, and, of course, private donations, such as those collected during Supermarket Sweep, to meet the needs of the community. And still there are 15 families on the wait list for assistance at this time.

Co-chair Janice Weinberg told us recently that, “Supermarket Sweep is a wonderful opportunity for the entire family to get involved and have a direct impact on those in need in our community.”

She’s right. I hope you join in. For more information on Supermarket Sweep, visit www.jfedgmw.org/sweep or contact my colleague Lindsay Napchen at (973) 929-2948 or lnapchen@jfedgmw.org


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