Volunteers come together for food packing event in Lawrence

Scott Jacobs
Animals were lively at Colonial Lake Park in Lawrence Township on Nov 2.

With mesh hairnets covering their hair and plastic gloves on their hands, Deacon and Kellen Moore carefully scooped equal amounts of rice and freeze-dried vegetables from plastic bins into a yellow funnel, which directed it into a plastic baggy. Each baggy, which also contained protein mix and a vitamin packet, held the equivalent of six meals.

Once the baggy was filled, it was sealed and placed into a cardboard box destined for HomeFront and the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK). The nonprofit groups help and feed the homeless and the working poor.

The goal was to fill 1,700 baggies. Stacks of boxes – 48, to be exact – were to be filled with 36 baggies apiece. In total, the baggies would provide 10,000 meals for those in need.

Held at Mrs. G Appliances on Brunswick Pike in Lawrence on Nov. 3, it was all part of the Nationwide Marketing Group’s effort to give back to the community, said Debbie Schaeffer, the chief executive officer and self-described “chief customer officer” at the family-owned Mrs. G Appliances.

“It’s really about giving back. We are happy to do it. It’s fun and it brings the community together,” Schaeffer said.

The Nationwide Marketing Group is a buying cooperative that counts 3,000 independent stores as members, including Mrs. G Appliances. It uses its buying power to purchase appliances, furniture and consumer electronics so members can pass along savings to their customers.

The Nationwide Marketing Group has teamed with the nonprofit, My Neighbors Children’s “No Child Hungry,” initiative for meal-packing events. The nonprofit group itself grew out of the need to create an umbrella for the many smaller groups that seek to help poor children around the world.

Taking a break from filling baggies, Deacon and Kellen acknowledged that they are fortunate and they want to help people. “I am lucky,” said Deacon, who attends the Lawrence Intermediate School.

“I can’t imagine not having lunch or dinner,” said Kellen, who attends the Lawrence Middle School.

“We are able to eat what we want and when we want. We can go out for dinner. But some people don’t even have one thing to eat,” Kellen said.

The boys’ parents, AJ and Cheryl Moore, said they have encouraged their sons to contribute and to help in any way that they can. Cheryl Moore said she is always searching for ways to get the family involved in the community.

“This is a good opportunity to be involved with a local business. They are not here just to sell, but to help people in need,” AJ Moore said of Mrs. G Appliances, as he helped to fill the baggies.