Spartans Join Fight Against Hunger
The Spartans continued their outreach efforts with a visit to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey in Hillside. Players, coaches and staff members came out to help package donated food for distribution.
The facility in Hillside relied on more than 2,500 volunteers last year to combat the growing problem of hunger in the state of New Jersey. The Spartans were happy to donate their time and effort to assist in the fight.
“We’re here to help out as much as we can,” says Assistant General Manager Steven Ramos. “It feels great. I’m looking forward to doing this as much as I can.”
“It feels good giving back to the community,” says Offensive Coach Anthony Barber. “It builds the guys’ character.”
The history of the Community FoodBank of New Jersey begins in 1975, when current President and CEO Kathleen DiChiara started collecting food out of the back of her car.
“I gave out my home phone number to the local hospital, welfare department, anywhere I could think of,” says DiChiara. “I said, ‘If you know someone without food, tell them to call me.’ ”
With assistance from her church and a partnership with the Archdiocese of Newark, she expanded her efforts county-wide to establish a non-profit organization.
Modeled after the Second Harvest food bank based in Phoenix, DiChiara decided to organize a state food bank in 1980. Since becoming incorporated in 1982, the organization’s growth over the past two decades has been staggering.
“We distributed 150 thousand pounds of food that year,” says DiChiara. “We do that in a day now.”
Today, the Community FoodBank of New Jersey provides food for more than 1,000 agencies, including food pantries and soup kitchens, in 18 of 21 counties. Last year, the organization collected more than 39 million pounds of food. Still, DiChiara says they can do even better this year.
“It’s very ambitious to think in terms of eliminating hunger,” DiChiara says, “but that doesn’t keep us from striving to get there.”
Join the Spartans and the Community FoodBank of New Jersey in the fight against hunger now. Please click here for the list of Spartan Food Drive donation sites through February and March or visit the Community FoodBank website at http://www.njfoodbank.org/ to find out how you can volunteer.