Middlesex County has officially introduced REPLENISH, Nourishing Neighbors, the new brand identity and tagline of its food distribution organization Middlesex County Food Organization and Outreach Distribution Services (MCFOODS).
The new identity will better align with the organization’s mission of providing a turnkey hunger eradication program to its network of over 140 partner organizations so they can wholly focus on best meeting the nutritional and basic needs within their own, according to information provided by the county.
Additionally, Replenish, formerly under the purview of the Middlesex County Improvement Authority, now operates within the Department of Community Services within the county organization.
“The core values that MCFOODS was founded on will continue to live through Replenish. Replenish, and its leadership team, led by Jennifer Apostol, will remain committed to community collaboration in the fight to eradicate hunger within our County but will do so under a brand identity that is better aligned with its missions,” Director of the Board of County Commissioners Ronald G. Rios said in a prepared statement. “The Board of County Commissioners and I are proud to support Replenish in this transformation and look forward to continuing food distribution to those most in need throughout our community.”
“Since its inception 25 years ago, MCFOODS has grown to meet the needs of the community, distributing millions of pounds of food year after year and building relationships with community partners and pantries which allows for greater reach within the community,” County Commissioner Claribel Azcona-Barber, chair of the Community Services Committee, said in the statement. “Replenish, with its new name, continued mission and its move under community services, will allow the organization to further build upon those relationships and answer the needs of our neighbors.”
The official launch of the new brand identity will take place at the county’s annual Labor Day Concert held on Sept. 5 in Roosevelt Park in Edison, where MCFOODS was originally housed when it was founded in 1994. Replenish will be collecting non-perishable food items and/or monetary donations.
Beginning in the closet of a park police building in Roosevelt Park in Edison in 1994 as MCFOODS, the food distribution organization has since expanded into a 5,000-square-foot warehouse in East Brunswick. Undergoing a brand transformation in 2021, MCFOODs, now named Replenish, provides nonperishable foods and necessities to a network of over 140 partner organizations throughout the 25 towns in Middlesex County to ensure that all residents always have access to nutritionally adequate food and necessities.
In the early years, Replenish received and distributed 92,000 pounds of nonperishable foods and necessities to about 30 partner agencies, according to the statement. In 2019, the organization received and distributed over 2.2 million pounds of food including fresh produce, dairy, and meat products to over 140 partners.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Replenish never closed its doors. In a time when food insecurity increased throughout the country, Replenish collected and distributed 4,378,792 pounds of food to members of the Middlesex County community, a 93% increase over the year before, according to the statement. A
To celebrate Hunger Action Month in September, Replenish will host a series of food drives:
Labor Day concert, 4 p.m. Sept. 5, Roosevelt Park, intersection of Grandview Avenue and Pine Drive, Edison.
Paper shred event, 9 a.m. to noon Sept. 11, South Brunswick Beech Woods Park, 137 Beekman Road, Monmouth Junction section of South Brunswick.
Food drive, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 18, New Brunswick Performing Arts Center, 11 Livingston Ave., New Brunswick.
Food drive in partnership with Stop & Shop, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 19 at Stop & Shop store locations:
647 Route 18 south, East Brunswick
24 Summerfield Boulevard, Dayton section of South Brunswick
1049 Route 1 south, Edison
1083 Inman Avenue, Edison
424 Raritan Ave., Highland Park
1600 Perrineville Road, Monroe
581 Stelton Road, Piscataway
Food drive in partnership with Shoprite, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 25, Shoprite, 4154 Route 1, South Brunswick.
South Amboy Irish Festival, 2-8 p.m. Sept. 25, Raritan Bay Waterfront Park, 201 O’Leary Blvd., South Amboy.
Paper shred event, 9 a.m. to noon Sept. 25, South Plainfield PAL Building/Recreation Center, 1250 Maple Ave., South Plainfield.
Food drive, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 26, John W. Lupu Memorial Post 306, 707 Legion Pl., Middlesex Borough.
Additionally, Replenish is encouraging members of the community to participate in non-food collection events to remember those at risk of hunger, including setting an empty plate at the dinner table to remember those who are food insecure; learning to accurately read food dates and labels to reduce food waste; eating one small meal in a day to experience the feeling of hunger those without food feel; and starting a compost pile to reduce food waste, according to the statement.
Monetary donations are accepted in the form of a check payable to “Feeding Middlesex County.” Checks may be mailed to P.O. Box 781, Edison 08818, or donations can be made online at www.feedingmiddlesexcounty.org.