Middlesex County is still trying to dig out from under the destruction wrought by Hurricane Sandy. One of the areas where that pain is most keenly felt is at the county's food banks.
It's especially difficult at the beginning of the holiday season, where demands on food banks to help those in need is at its height, according to officals at the Middlesex County Food Organization and Outreach Distribution Services (MCFOODS).
The hurricane not only devastated towns like Old Bridge and Sayreville, it ruined donations that were stored in those areas. Lengthy power outages and an outbreak of food spoilage in places like New Brunswick and Woodbridge only added to the need.
During a typical week, MCFOODS, Middlesex County’s official food bank, would draw in up to 40 agencies, pantries or other organizations and send out approximately 9 tons of food. As a result of the storm, however, last Wednesday, five additional organizations and six extra pallets of supplies made their way into and out of the New Brunswick distribution warehouse, a location provided by the Middlesex County Board of Freeholders.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve seen some of these organizations,” said Jennifer Apostol, a project manager with the Middlesex County Improvement Authority, the entity that oversees the MCFOODS’ operation. “They were obviously impacted by the storm and it’s not likely that this will be a short-lived re-acquaintanceship.”
Despite donations pouring in from around the region – and even from the out-of-state civilian emergency relief center World Care in Arizona – MCFOODS is making a public appeal for assistance with both its growing weekly disbursements and the provisional Thanksgiving dinners.
“We’re so thankful for the emergency relief we’ve seen thus far,” Apostol said. “At the
moment, we are contending with an up tick in demand and a shortage of supplies. Now, more than ever, we need the support of the community; so if you have something to spare, please consider making a donation. They say ‘charity begins at home,’ and there is any number of Middlesex County residents who could use the help.”
Donations can be made year-round at any of the permanent collection sites located at various area libraries. Those participants include libraries located in East Brunswick, Edison, Metuchen, Milltown, Monroe, North Brunswick, Perth Amboy, Piscataway, Plainsboro, South Amboy, South Brunswick, South Plainfield, Spotswood and Woodbridge.
For more information on MCFOODS programs, interested parties may contact Apostol at 609-655-5141, firstname.lastname@example.org or log onto www.mciauth.com.