NEWTON, N.J. (Sussex County) – Who would you turn to if you were hungry, had no other resources and nothing to eat? This is what many area high school students have begun to ask themselves after having the opportunity to collect food for the hungry. Local high school students and faculty have worked together as a community for the past seven years to collect over 370,700 pounds of food through the Champions for Charity initiative to help replenish the shelves of the Social Services Food Pantry. The Sussex County Department of Human Services, Division of Social Services Food Pantry provides food to hundreds of families and individuals throughout the county who would go hungry without this assistance. It has been increasingly difficult to keep pantry shelves stocked during these economically difficult times.
Sussex County Clerk Jeff Parrott started the Champions for Charity initiative during the 2009-2010 school year, which was designed to meet diminished donations and the ever-rising need to feed the hungry. Champions for Charity has evolved into an annual event, which not only continues to feed countless residents throughout the county, but it also educates, raises awareness, and touches the hearts and minds of youth and adults alike as many become aware of the suffering and need that exists right within their own community. A grand total of 39,280 pounds of food was collected by students and faculty during the 2015-2016 school year to restock the shelves with needed provisions at the Sussex County Food Pantry. Wallkill Valley Regional High School students led the friendly competition during the 2015-16 school year by collecting 11,450 pounds of food. Wallkill Valley will receive the Victor’s Trophy and have its name added to the “Champions” plaque under the 2015-2016 school year.
“I cannot thank the schools enough for their continuing contributions and for recognizing the need that exists in Sussex County. I look forward to working with the schools and organizations, such as Hampton Rotary, to serve our community and improve the quality of life for countless residents in need,” Parrott said.
Items frequently needed for the food pantry include cereal, peanut butter, jelly, meals in a can, hearty soup, tuna or other proteins in a can, macaroni and cheese, and baby food or formula. Personal items such as soap, toiletries and personal hygiene products are always needed. Also welcomed are cash donations to purchase perishable food goods or vouchers when needed.
If anyone is in need of food for themselves, their family or their pets, they can stop by the Division of Social Services, 83 Spring Street, Suite 203, Newton, NJ, Monday through Friday, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. The Division may be contacted by phone at (973) 383-3600. No appointments are necessary.