Students helping to drive away hunger

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Volunteers show off some of the donations received during the Memorial Middle School Drives Away Hunger food drive Sept. 25. [COURTESY OF COURTNEY FEHRING]

The Memorial Middle School Drives Away Hunger food drive collected 590 pounds of food to support Fulfill NJ on Friday, Sept. 25.

The drive-by food drive, held in the afternoon outside the school on Laura Herbert Drive, helped kick off Memorial Middle School’s annual participation in the Students Change Hunger Food Drive for Fulfill NJ, formerly the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties.

“The food collection was a huge success. We had a good number of people drive up to drop off food, as well as children and families riding bikes or walking to donate food,” said Courtney Fehring, who chairs the Food Drive Committee alongside faculty members Tracy Somerville, JamieLynn Cianci and Julie Koziel. “We collected almost 600 pounds of food in just two short hours.

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“The Students Change Hunger Food Drive for Fulfill NJ has just begun, so we still have a ways to go, but so far we have had food donated and some monetary donations on our fundraising page.”

During the two-hour drive, families from across the school community drove up to the middle school’s front entrance to deliver non-perishable goods that will go to support those in need.

Many non-perishable items were donated during the drive, including canned fruits and vegetables, beans, soups, ready-to-eat canned meals, pasta, peanut butter, jelly and cereal.

“The biggest donation from the drive-by food drive was from someone whose entire trunk was filled with food,” Ms. Fehring said.

“The atmosphere was very positive and encouraging during such an overwhelming time for everyone. The parents, students and community members who came by to donate were not only generous with their donations, but very thankful to us for organizing the drive. The volunteers were very excited and cheered and took pictures as people came to donate.”

According to a release, many families across New Jersey are struggling to put food on the table. Over one million New Jersey workers have filed for unemployment since the COVID-19 pandemic hit New Jersey.

Each year, Memorial Middle School helps make a difference by participating in the Students Change Hunger Food Drive for Fulfill NJ, and organizers think that this may be the most important and potentially impactful year to participate.

“It is now and will continue to be a slow process for everyone to get back on their feet. The drive-by food drive is so important because it gives those who have the means a chance to support others,” Ms. Fehring said.

“So many people want to help, but are still worried about going out or being around others. This gives them the opportunity to donate in a safe environment and really make a difference. 

“Holding these drives is important because so many families are still struggling, and with all of the limitations due to COVID-19 it is difficult to be able to get out and help. These drives remind everyone that no matter what is going on, we can all make a difference. 

“Our goal is for everyone to know that no matter how small the donation, every little bit helps and together we can all make a difference and get through this.”

According to Ms. Fehring, the food drive for Fulfill NJ will go through December and those wishing to can make a donation via the fundraising page at https://fulfillnj.fenly.org/memorialmiddleSCH.

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