North Brunswick students RISE to the challenge during diaper collection

Heather Gilmore, left, and Kelsey McCann show just some of the thousands of diapers collected at North Brunswick Township High School for the Central Jersey Diaper Bank.

NORTH BRUNSWICK – Students and staff of North Brunswick Township High School rose to the occasion, collecting more than 2,000 diapers to benefit Middlesex County moms in need.

Rochelle Newman, a substitute teacher in North Brunswick who is part of the Anshe Emeth Community Development Corporation, realized the need to support the Central Jersey Diaper Bank, which is run through the AECDC in New Brunswick.

The Project RISE (Respect, Integrity, Service, Excellence) Committee of the Student Government Organization at NBTHS decided to expand their overall mission of positive behavior in schools and join in the effort.

Kelsey McCann, Robert Neumann, Abhishek Shetty, Heather Gilmore, Charbel Eid and Isabelle Bongiovanni organized the drive with their advisors, ultimately collecting 2,200 diapers, mostly from staff members, during March.

“I would consider this a success,” said Matt Feldman, vice president of the AECDC.

“It shows there is care for local efforts. … For all they know, even some of their neighbors may be receiving assistance from us,” said Adam Cohen, program coordinator for the AECDC, with advisor Altagracia Ruiz noting there is incentive when the results stay within the county.

In addition, students from the New Jersey Youth Corps help with deliveries, pick ups, cleaning the warehouse, taking inventory and even cutting the lawn at Anshe Emeth.

“It teaches the kids about the needs in Middlesex County … and it’s doing something to enrich them too,” Feldman said.

The Central Jersey Diaper Bank collects diapers, baby clothing, wipes, formula, swings, equipment, cribs and car seats for 800 families in need. Over the past nine months alone, 84,000 diapers were distributed to 640 families who were referred by partner agencies, Feldman said.

“Even if we can’t give diapers, we make sure we still can give families something to help with their other kids,” Cohen said.

Although funding is received via grants, donors and sponsors, individual donations are welcome. The Adopt-a-Mom fundraising effort will be held in May in honor of Mother’s Day.

Project RISE plans to hold a diaper drive again next year, possibly doing more promotion and asking more clubs to participate.

The committee also holds programs such as a talent show and assemblies to promote good behavior.

“It’s another way to reinforce positive behavior already happening, while recognizing it’s already there,” Robert said.

A collection box is located in the office of Mayor Francis “Mac” Womack at the North Brunswick Municipal Building, 710 Hermann Road, North Brunswick. Confidential assistant to the mayor, Janice Larkin, can be reached at 732-247-0922, ext. 430.

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Contact Jennifer Amato at [email protected].