More Than A FoodBank
Non-Profit helps kids get everything from clothes to books
HILLSIDE, New Jersey – Last Tuesday, schools affected by Superstorm Sandy received a much-needed resource: Books.
Students from three schools in New York and New Jersey came to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey in Hillside to pick out new books donated by Scholastic. (The company teamed up with the FoodBank and Kids in Distressed Situations (K.I.D.S.) for the donation.) The three schools received a combined 20,000 books.
Ultimately, more than 100 schools in region affected by Sandy. Each school will receive between 500-10,000 books, depending on the size of the school.
One of the schools that received books was Red Bank Primary School from Red Bank, New Jersey.
"We were thrilled. We were so excited," school counselor Jacqueline Darvin said. "I couldn't believe it. I remember hearing from my supervisor that we were going to get this generous donation, and I was floored. I couldn't believe it. We were really, really excited."
The book donation was a reminder that Sandy hit kids – and their schools – hard. And it brought attention to a valuable community resource helping them recover and rebuild.
Since 1975, the Community FoodBank of New Jersey has assisted millions of New Jersey kids and adults in need of food, toiletries, and a helping hand.
The organization started small when Kathleen DiChiari began distributing groceries out of the trunk of her car. But demand grew so great so fast that DiChiari needed something bigger than a car to help as many people as possible. So she established the Community FoodBank.
In the first year, the FoodBank sent 75,000 pounds of food to different charities. Today, the organization distributes 39 million pounds of food and groceries to 1,500 non-profit programs. Nearly 900,000 low-income people in 18 of New Jersey's 21 counties receive help from the FoodBank.
Over the years, the FoodBank has expanded from food-based programs to a multitude of other services to aid people in need. This includes programs to help children.
The Kids Division has four major programs to benefit children's needs. The Tools4School program provides teachers from 10 school districts with free school supplies. Kids Closet allows needy children to receive 3-5 new outfits. The Kids Cafe works with existing after-school programs to provide meals to nearly 2,000 kids a day. The Backpack Program gives free food to about 4,000 kids every week that might be at risk of hunger throughout the weekend.
The FoodBank has come a long way from its beginnings in the trunk of a car. Today, it's located in a large warehouse that allows the organization to distribute donated goods as well as host a Food Service Training Academy. It's also a member of Feeding America, the country's largest network of food banks, and partners with K.I.D.S.
"We sent all kind of things [to the FoodBank] whether it was towels, hygiene items – anything that people needed," Dennie Hughes, Director of Donor/Agency Relations for K.I.D.S., said. "[The FoodBank] also are terrific people who supply 'hope.' They help supply, 'Don't worry, it's going to be okay.'"
You can find share your Hurricane Sandy experiences and find more coverage of the storm and its aftermath on the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps Blog.
HURRICANE SANDY RECOVERY SPECIAL REPORT
Find out how kids across the country are helping the Hurricane Sandy relief effort — and catch up with the Kid Reporters' on-the-ground reporting during the storm — in the Hurricane Sandy Recovery Special Report.
NEWS FOR KIDS, BY KIDS
Get the latest on national and international events, movies, television, music, sports, and more from the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.