>I’ve been to the Community FoodBank of NJ many times over the years, but never saw it from the “agency” side. Dina Pressel and I today accompanied Diane Stein, coordinator for the InterFaith Food Pantry (“IFP”), on a run to pick up needed pantry items. Accredited agencies like the IFP can “purchase” groceries for use by their organization from the FoodBank for 16 cents a pound. That 16 cents covers the FoodBank’s costs for these goods (even if goods are donated, there are still costs associated with the FoodBank’s massive warehouse, with staff and trucks, etc.).
We “shopped” for donated goods that were on the FoodBank’s agency shelves. For about $40, we were able to purchase 16 large boxes full of cereal and cookies (which we grabbed off the shelves since they weigh so little but cost so much if purchased at retail), and several boxes of needed beans and vegetables. Dina and I were amazed at how much “low weight” food we were able to acquire. We also picked up a previously placed order of goods including peanut butter, canned vegetables, mac and cheese and more (these were a lot heavier and so cost a lot more). After we filled two cars with these items, Dina and Diane went to drop them at the Pantry in Orange. A lot of womanpower needed to be able to sustain this project, but such a great thing to be able to do.
I learned one really important thing this morning: when you “Bring One” to TSTI, try to donate the “heavier” items. While the IFP does need pasta, cereal, cookies and mac n’cheese, the IFP can buy those items fairly cheapily when they are available at the FoodBank. If you make a choice between what to purchase when you spend $1 to buy and donate an item, buy the green vegetables, the corn, the canned potatoes, the soup, the tuna, the jelly, the peanut butter, and the beans. This will help the IFP stretch its funds.
Teen Board: A Teen Board has just been started for the IFP. Teens are invited to come help volunteer and to find ways to make the IFP a more successful endeavor. At the first brainstorming session, abut 20 teens (including 2 from TSTI) came up with some fabulous ideas, including some fundraising ideas (remember, it costs to buy food to give out when there’s not enough donated goods) and creating a pamphlet about the IFP that can be handed out on days when we solicit funds at supermarkets or other locations. The Board will meet on an irregular basis, but activities will be continually planned. Teens who are interested in participating in the Board activities should contact Diane Stein, IFP Coordinator. firstname.lastname@example.org