Yes We CAN! Food Drives is a volunteer group dedicated to helping alleviate the growing tide of hunger in Mercer County, New Jersey, by holding regular food drives at area supermarkets and farmers markets.
The donated food is collected on behalf of The Crisis Ministry of Mercer County, a non-denominational organization that operates food pantries in Trenton and Princeton that together service the food needs of 3,000 individuals a month, including 1,000 children.
Their clients represent all ages, races, and ethnicities and include those with low-paying jobs, those recently out of work, welfare recipients, veterans, the elderly, the disabled, and, of course, the children affected by all this.
Yes We CAN! Food Drives was organized in December 2008 by a group of dedicated individuals who were appalled by the statistic that one in seven Americans, or 49 million people, struggle to get enough to eat each day. The group now meets regularly to set up the food drives and has enlisted the support of dozens of volunteers who collect food at the markets.
Learn more about the Crisis Ministry by visiting their website at www.thecrisisministry.org.
The Yes We CAN! food drives are held at one of our partnering supermarkets or farmers markets, generally on a Saturday. Our volunteers ask shoppers to purchase an extra box or can of food or fresh produce to help replenish the supplies at The Crisis Ministry food pantries. At the end of the food drive, The Crisis Ministry truck collects the food and places it on their food pantry shelves. Simple, but effective.
Fresh produce is always a welcome addition to the food pantry shelves. To this end, Yes We CAN! Food Drives collects fruits and vegetables during the growing season at the West Windsor Farmers Market every other Saturday. In addition, Yes We CAN! now collects fresh produce every Thursday at the Princeton Farmers Market, located on the plaza in front of the Princeton Public Library.
Our Yes We CAN! volunteers ask shoppers at the farmers markets to buy extra produce or to donate cash, which the volunteers then use to buy produce from the farmers. The farmers appreciate the extra business, and The Crisis Ministry clients love the chance to serve fresh fruit and vegetables to their families. In many instances, the farmers donate their remaining fruits and vegetables to Yes We CAN! Food Drives at the end of the market day. Its truly a win-win situation for all.
Another welcome source of food is the baked goods Yes We CAN! Food Drives collects from two very generous bakeries in Lawrenceville The Village Bakery and Maidenhead Bagels. In combination, we have collected, from January to August 2012, the equivalent of almost 4,000 pounds of baked goods and bagels.
Yes We CAN! Food Drives now provide 10% of the food the Crisis Ministry distributes each month to its 3,000 clients, 1,000 of whom are children. Since beginning our food drives in December 2008, our volunteers have collected the following amounts through July 2012:
153,000 pounds of food collected
An equivalent of 76.5 tons
Who would have thought that a donated box or can of food or bag of apples could add up to such an outpouring of help? Together, we CAN AND DO make a difference!
Our food drive partners are area supermarkets, farmers markets, and bakeries. These generous partners allow Yes We CAN! Food Drives to hold our collections many times throughout the year. We salute their generosity and cooperation!
Our partners include:
McCaffreys in Princeton
Pennington Quality Market in Pennington
West Windsor Farmers Market (seasonal)
Princeton Farmers Market (seasonal)
Slow Food Market
Maidenhead Bagels, Lawrenceville
The food drives are organized by the Yes We CAN! Coordinating Committee. Each member of the committee assumes responsibility for some aspect of managing the drives. The committee includes officers, site coordinators, a volunteer coordinator, publicity chair, and a website designer, among others.
|Liz Cohen, Co-Chair
Kim Kyte, Co-Chair
Ann Summer, Secretary
Alison Politziner, Volunteer Coordinator
Learn more about becoming a volunteer by visiting Volunteering.
For the dates of upcoming food drives, visit Events.