SOMERSET COUNTY, NJ- Curbing Hunger Inc. is a non-profit organization based in Somerset County, N.J. Its mission is to raise food to supply hunger organizations during times when donations are low. This year marks the 20th consecutive year of its annual Curbing Hunger Food Drive campaign to help people in New Jersey during the summer - a time when most organizations struggle with low donations. Since its founding, the campaign has raised over 2 million pounds of food to help New Jersey residents.
This year’s campaign is called “A Garden State Kind of Food Drive” to emphasize the ability for people to donate fresh produce in addition to traditional non-perishable goods. To date, the program has raised nearly 50,000 pounds of food, but more is needed, so the campaign is being extended to the end of July.
“What we are hearing from most food assistance organizations is great concern that they won’t have enough food on hand to serve the people and communities they support, and most are reporting that the number of people they serve continues to grow,” said Curbing Hunger Inc. President Chuck Knill.
U.S. Rep. Donald Payne Jr. is well-versed in this quiet emergency and announced his support of the campaign’s Essex County partner, MEND, which operates 18 food pantries throughout Essex County.
“School is out, summer break has begun and many people are leaving for vacation. There is not a holiday season in the summer where people stop and think to give to those who are less fortunate,” said Congressman Payne. “There are many in our community who are in dire need, and over the last few years, the number of families who struggle to make ends meet has risen. So we are making it even easier for people to give and support those in need through MEND’s online donation shopping service.”
Chuck Knill agrees. “As Congressman Payne has noted, we’ve made it extremely easy for people to donate food this year. Through our partnership with Amp Your Good, people can visit www.CurbingHunger2014.org to go online and purchase the food they want to donate and which organization they want to support. The food will be delivered for them, so all it takes it a couple of clicks to help out.”
“No one in America should go hungry because of want,” said U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance, who attended the Somerset County food drive kickoff last month. “Yet, in the congressional district I have the privilege to represent, one of the most affluent in the country, it is happening, and that is not tolerable.”
He said it is the “shared responsibility of government entities with the private sector and nonprofit sector” to address this urgent community need, and commended Curbing Hunger Inc. for its role.
“One thing we’ve been very encouraged about are groups that are finding out about the campaign and deciding to run their own Curbing Hunger food drive,” Mr. Knill said. “William Paterson University just started their online food drive to support CUMAC, another of our campaign partners. We’re hoping to see a few more groups decide to get involved now that we’ve extended the campaign by a month.”