By Andrew Farinaccio
The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties will hold Hunger Action Family Day September 1 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. This family-friendly open house event aims to bring together volunteers of all ages to create 400 healthy snack packs. As the new school year begins, these snack packs will be distributed to students involved in after-school programs.
The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties serves more than 132,000 people in its local community, 40,000 of which are children. With Hunger Action Family Day, volunteers can actively contribute to the FoodBank’s efforts while learning more about how to get involved further, through programs and events such as Students Change Hunger.
Taking place statewide from September 19 through December 12, Students Change Hunger is a school-based program that encourages schools to compete in an effort to collect as much for as possible for their local food bank. Families can learn more about the program at Hunger Action Family Day, which will serve as the kickoff for this year’s Students Change Hunger competition.
Aside from helping to assemble the aforementioned snack packs, attendees ages 13 and up can volunteer to participate in sort room shifts, which take place from 1 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Visiting families are encouraged to donate a bag of nonperishable food for the S.O.S. (Stuff Our Silo) Food Drive. (Participants must wear closed-toe shoes.)
Hunger Action Family Day is as much a day of family fun as it is a day of rewarding community service, however. Attendees will enjoy crafts, carnival games, face painting, a photo booth, garden activities, concert ticket and event giveaways, food trucks, and more.
One food truck in attendance will be Caribbean Soul, which specializes in serving up flavorful cuisine that brings together a taste of the Caribbean and the South. Rondell Donaldson, a Valedictorian graduate of the FoodBank Culinary Arts Training Program, operates the truck with his fiancé Renee Campbell in Asbury Park as well as at local food festivals.
The FoodBank’s 2016 Junior Humanitarian, Andrew Beer, will also be hosting Healing Hunger Carnival Games at Hunger Action Day. Beer, who has been providing support for the FoodBank since 2011, hosts an annual Healing Hunger Carnival with the help of his family and peers in an effort to give back to local communities. To date, Beer has raised over $16,000 and collected 2,500 pounds of food for those in need.
Hunger Action Family Day is both a fantastic way to help make a real difference in the lives of many and an opportunity to learn how to continue to help in the fight against hunger. Pledge your support on September 1 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. to help be a part of the solution.
The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties is located at 3300 Route 66 in Neptune.