Old Bridge High School teen initiates food collection campaign

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Sophomore Matea Mandic placed boxes around Old Bridge High School to collect food for the Community Food Bank of New Jersey through Dec. 9.
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Matea Mandic placed boxes around Old Bridge High School to collect food for the Community Food Bank of New Jersey through Dec. 9.
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Matea Mandic, right, placed boxes around Old Bridge High School to collect food for the Community Food Bank of New Jersey through Dec. 9.
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Sophomore Matea Mandic placed boxes around Old Bridge High School to collect food for the Community Food Bank of New Jersey through Dec. 9.
  2 / 3 
Matea Mandic placed boxes around Old Bridge High School to collect food for the Community Food Bank of New Jersey through Dec. 9.
  3 / 3 
Matea Mandic, right, placed boxes around Old Bridge High School to collect food for the Community Food Bank of New Jersey through Dec. 9.

OLD BRIDGE – An Old Bridge High School (OBHS) sophomore initiated a campaign to collect food for the Community Food Bank of New Jersey because he said he wanted to raise awareness about the severity of hunger among high school students.

Matea Mandic, who was selected as part of the Teen Leadership Council for the Community Food Bank, is one of 10 students statewide who was named to this committee, according to information provided by the Old Bridge School District.

“He is quite an extraordinary young man,” said Janine Arciero, an adviser of the Red Cross Club, which is partnering with Matea in support of his endeavor.

Matea placed labeled boxes around OBHS, including in classrooms, the cafeteria, and front desk for the collection of non-perishable food as well as canned goods. The collection will continue through Dec. 9.

“Nutrition is important for us,” Matea said in the statement, adding without food, it becomes difficult for students to study and work, and it makes them susceptible to disease.

To date, Matea has donated more than 1,500 pounds of food for the cause, and he also entered OBHS in the Students Change Hunger Challenge.

According to the Students Change Hunger Challenge website, the Federation of New Jersey Food Banks challenges all students, staff, teachers and parents to think of those less fortunate throughout the school year by organizing a food drive at their school. New Jersey schools will compete to collect as much food as possible for their local food bank. At the end of the challenge, the schools that bring the most food (by weight) will be presented with awards by their local food bank.

In addition, Matea said he plans to enter the Governor’s Cup competition. In order to be considered, a school must submit an essay or video to their food bank representative on what they have accomplished, how much they have raised, and what sets them apart from all the other schools.

Matea said once the food is collected, it will be weighed by the local food bank, which is located at the Cavalry Chapel Church, located off Route 516.