East Brunswick teams up for food drive

EAST BRUNSWICK — Two East Brunswick High School (EBHS) teams traded in their pigskins and pom-poms for donation bags last week to help Middlesex County’s food bank during its usual summertime lull.

At the onset of the season, the high school football team was more than 20 players shy of last year’s roster, leaving less manpower for its annual food drive, now in its fourth year, according to a statement prepared by the Middlesex County Improvement Authority (MCIA), which oversees the Middlesex County Food Organization and Outreach Distribution Services (MCFOODS).

Therefore, the high school’s cheerleaders pitched in and helped canvass the local neighborhoods for supplies and nonperishable food items.

“With fewer players, it was a challenge, but we all tried our best,” said EBHS head football coach Bob Molarz. “We started this under Sean O’Sullivan (a 2015 graduate). He made us aware of the necessity to stock these shelves in the summertime.”

The two teams’ efforts generated approximately 2,600 pounds of donations, partly due to the work of East Brunswick sophomore Tim Gudzak.

“This was our first team effort … the first time the Cheer Boosters came together with the Quarterback Club,” said EBHS Cheer Booster Club Secretary Odalys Vacca.

Representatives from MCFOODS picked up a stockpile of bins filled with pantry goods near a locker room entrance last week.

With the number of agencies that MCFOODS serves climbing each year, topping off in the 90s in 2016, East Brunswick’s reserves come at a time of increasing need and declining collections, according to the statement.

“Just the day prior we had sorted through the last of our surplus food,” said Jennifer Apostol, project manager with the MCIA. “I continue to remind the public each year that the usual trickle of donations dries up over the summer, when people are away on vacation, and the number of drives dwindles.”

When the school year ends, so too do the daily subsidized meals many school districts provide children, resulting in many underprivileged families scrounging for food, she added.

“In a sense, you have children helping children,” said Middlesex County Freeholder Deputy Director Carol Bellante, liaison to the MCIA. “You don’t have to change the world to make a difference. Sometimes you just have to change the course of someone’s day, and we can certainly be assured these student athletes in East Brunswick accomplished that here.”

For more information, visit www.mciauth.com, call 609-655-5141 or follow the food bank on Facebook at Mcfoods Network, on Twitter @MCFOODSNetwork or on Instagram at mcfoods_network.


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