Beginning Monday, December 1 and continuing through Friday, December 12, Atlantic County residents are encouraged to place canned goods at the curb on their recycling collection day as part of the 24th annual Holiday Food Drive. Atlantic County Utilities Authority (ACUA) recycling crews will collect the canned goods in conjunction with regularly scheduled recycling pick-ups.
Sponsored by ACUA, the Holiday Food Drive gives residents an easy and convenient way to help the needy while helping the environment. All canned goods collected through the Holiday Food Drive will be distributed through the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, Southern Branch, which provides the donated food to more than 280 local charities for distribution to those less fortunate in Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, and southeastern Burlington Counties. These include pantries, shelters and feeding programs. Last year, the FoodBank distributed more than 40 million pounds of food and grocery items statewide, locally more than 7 million pounds.
The Community FoodBank is looking for donations of food items, especially canned soups, meals in a can, peanut butter and jelly, canned tuna and other meats and cereal.
“Unfortunately, our region has been dealt another blow. Two years ago it was Superstorm Sandy and this year it’s the loss of jobs, primarily due to the casino closings,” said Evelyn Benton, executive director of the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, Southern Branch. “I can’t stress enough how important this food drive is to us. We count on it every year. The people of Atlantic County and ACUA’s recycling employees have always come through in a big way for the food bank in the past and this year we need their help more than ever,” Barham added.
What sets the ACUA food drive apart is the convenience of setting out a donation, along with recyclables, on the designated day, said Rick Dovey, ACUA President. “ACUA trucks are visiting the majority of homes in Atlantic County once every two weeks. Our collection crews recognize the importance of the food drive, and they are happy to do their part because they understand that this event makes difference in the lives of those served by the Community FoodBank,” Dovey added.
Last year, residents answered the food bank’s call for assistance and donated 24,000 pounds of non-perishable food items. “We are hoping to meet or exceed this amount this year,” said Dovey.
To participate, just fill any bag or box with your donation and leave at the curb on your recycling day between December 1 and December 12.
Atlantic County residents not serviced through the ACUA curbside recycling program can participate by bringing their donations to the ACUA at 6700 Delilah Rd., or to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey at 6735 Horse Pike, Egg Harbor Township. Residents can visit www.acua.com for a complete list of locations.
Items most needed are non-perishable foods, such as canned meats, canned soups, canned vegetables, canned stew and canned fruit. Diapers and baby formula are also needed. Please do not include perishable or frozen items, or food in glass jars.
To learn more about how you can help, contact the Community Food Bank of NJ, Southern Branch, at (609) 383-8843 or visit www.cfbnj.org/southernbranch. For information about the ACUA’s Food Drive, call (609) 272-6950 or click here.