of children from needy families receive breakfast and lunch during the
school year through subsidized school meal programs. When schools close
for summer vacation, these meals are not available, and low-income
families are often unable to fill the void, many having to make the
choice between paying rent or going hungry.
Companies are needed to host employee food drives during the summer to help these families.
Business Volunteer Connect (BVC) a program of the Volunteer Center of Bergen
County, is coordinating a summer food drive with both its member
companies and other interested companies, to collect “kid-friendly”,
non-perishable breakfast and lunch food items. The food collected
during this initiative, entitled Brown Bag Buddies, will be
delivered to the Center for Food Action and other local food pantries
during the months of July and August. A free information kit that
describes the program and provides “how-to” instructions on running an
employee food drive is available by calling (201) 489-9454 Ext. 133.
to statistics from the National School Lunch Program, more than 385,000
children in New Jersey, including over 20,000 who live in Bergen
County, receive free or reduced price meals in their schools. Last
year, only 11 percent of the children participating in the National
School Lunch Program had access to nutritious meals in the summer.
wages of the working poor have not kept up with housing, transportation
and child care costs. Without school meals, families must turn to the
food pantries to provide nutritional meals for their children,” says
Ellen Lutvak, BVC Manager.
2000, over $346,000 worth of food and grocery gift cards, which equates
to over one hundred thousand pounds of food, have been distributed
through Brown Bag Buddies. The goal for 2014 is 10,000 pounds of food.
The sponsors for this year’s drive are United Water, BD, Rockland
Electric, Sealed Air, Community Bank of Bergen County, Konika Minolta,
KPMG and Bank of New Jersey. “We are asking all companies in northern
New Jersey to encourage their employees to participate in this summer
food drive,” continues Ms. Lutvak. “Remember, hunger never takes a