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Commissioners Ask Public to Join the Effort and Donate Canned Foods with Their Recycling

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Somerset County started a little early this year, kicking off its 28th annual Curbing Hunger Month with more than $160 thousand in grants to local food banks. The annual collection in conjunction with the non-profit Curbing Hunger organization is held in June each year because food insecurity increases during the summer even as food bank supplies are lower. Over the past two years COVID has made the situation even more dire.

“The COVID pandemic has strained the finances of so many of our friends and neighbors, making our collective support for community food banks all the more important this year,” said Somerset County Commissioner Director Shanel Robinson. “Somerset County is committed to using every resource at our disposal to ensure there is enough stock at our food banks for all our families who need a little help.”

The New Jersey Department of Health estimates that more than 17,000 Somerset County households don’t have access to adequate amounts of nutritious food. For adults, being food insecure means a higher risk of hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic health problems. For children, it can mean lifelong health conditions and diminished academic achievement.

“Donating to Curbing Hunger Month is really easy. Most residences have already received donation bags tied to their recycling containers, and all you have to do to donate is fill it with canned goods and leave it out on your next recycling day,” said Commissioner Deputy Director Melonie Marano in the Annual Curbing Hunger Month video. “Your donations will be delivered immediately to the Food Bank Network of Somerset County and other local food banks because hunger never takes a vacation.”

In early May the Board of County Commissioners approved grants totaling $161,535.98 in federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds to provide nutritious, healthy food for families in the three municipalities:
Hillsborough Township $90,935.98
Montgomery Township $45,600
Raritan Borough $25,000

In addition to the annual Curbing Hunger collection and food bank grants, Somerset County also supports food security with BOBO Fridays food collections, WIC and other programs managed by Social Services, congregate meals at Senior Wellness Centers, and meals delivered directly to the homes of aging residents.

How to Donate During Curbing Hunger Month
Bright orange and bio-degradable green Curbing Hunger bags are distributed during curbside recycling collections at the end of May and in early June. Residents can place canned food and non-perishable goods in the biodegradable Curbing Hunger bags tied to the handle of their recycling bins. Residents who have not received their Curbing Hunger bags or for those who want to donate more than can fit in the bag that is provided should use any bag and mark “food” on the bag with a permanent marker.

Residents should leave their donations at the curb with their recycling to be picked up on their regularly scheduled recycling days. Donations will be distributed to the Food Bank Network of Somerset County and other county food pantries. There are several other ways to donate as explained below.

Monetary Donations
To purchase fresh fruits and vegetables online, visit Donations are provided directly to the Food Bank Network of Somerset County.
Checks can be made payable to Curbing Hunger, Inc. and mailed to 140 South Finley Ave., Basking Ridge, NJ 07920.

Food and Non-Perishable Items Needed
Items accepted include boxed shelf-stable milk, canned meat or fish, meals-in-a-can such as pasta, stews and meaty soups, canned tomato sauce, canned fruits, dried pasta, peanut butter and jelly in plastic jars. Perishable food and food in glass containers will NOT be accepted.

Non-perishable items needed include laundry detergent, household cleaning supplies, dish detergent/soap, paper towels, toilet paper, tissues, body wash/soap, shampoo/conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste/toothbrushes, feminine hygiene products, baby food diapers (all sizes), and baby formula.

Curbing Hunger, Inc. is a non-profit community-based program that helps support food banks, pantries, and other entities by collecting food for the hungry during the time of year when food bank supplies are the lowest. This year Curbing Hunger, Inc., is going green by providing residents with biodegradable Curbing Hunger bags.
The Food Bank Network is a non-profit organization that distributes food and other items to local food pantries located in Somerville, Bound Brook, North Plainfield, and Bridgewater to help less fortunate Somerset County residents.

Hillsborough Administrator Anthony Ferrera, County Commissioner Paul Drake, Hillsborough Mayor Shawn Lipani, and Hillsborough Town Clerk Pamela Borek

Montgomery Council member Neena Singh, County Commissioner Doug Singleterry, Assistant Recreation Director John Groeger, Montgomery Deputy Mayor Shelly Bell, Montgomery Mayor Devra Keenan

Raritan Food Bank

Raritan Councilman Pablo Orozco, Raritan Food Pantry Board Members Nina Dorey and Sharon Molnar, County Commissioner Director Shanel Robinson