January 1, 2014
Dear Friends and Volunteers,
Words are just not strong enough to express our appreciation for your continued interest and support of Yes We CAN! Food Drives. You help us in so many ways from donating food at our partnering markets, to collecting food at our food drives, to stocking the shelves at The Crisis Ministry food pantries and to telling your friends and neighbors about our efforts on behalf of the Ministry.
In 2013, Yes We CAN! Food Drives held sixteen food drives at Princeton McCaffrey’s, Pennington Quality Market, and the West Windsor Farmers’ Market. In all, our volunteers collected 17,521 pounds of food for The Crisis Ministry pantries, an amount that represents 15% of the total food donated to the pantries.
All good, but not enough! By the end of 2013, The Crisis Ministry reached 15,000 visits annually for the first time, but by the end of 2014, they expect to reach 19,000 over a 20% increase.
That means that Yes We CAN! Food Drives must work even harder to increase the amount of food we collect. How can we do this when we are only able to hold a limited number of food drives throughout the year?
One way we are planning to increase our donations is by setting up our booth at the West Windsor Farmers’ Market every other week from May through November, but there is another solution, however, and that is, to ask you to donate funds directly to The Crisis Ministry. With your donation, the Ministry can buy additional supplies for their three pantries. That means that the low-income families, the elderly, the disabled, and the veterans will continue to manage their food insecurity.
If you are willing to make such a donation, please send your check payable to The Crisis Ministry of Mercer County and mail it to 123 East Hanover Street, Trenton, NJ 08608.
We can also fight hunger by advocating to our legislators that they protect SNAP funds (formerly food stamps, now Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) in the current Farm Bill. SNAP has already been cut by $5 billion due to sequestration, and the bill before the House of Representatives would currently cut another $39 billion.
This means that over 4 million beneficiaries will lose this important source of food, which pays approximately $4 a day in food stamps for each individual. Doesn’t sound like a big loss, but to those who live on a very small income, it means a great deal.
To advocate for restoring funds to the current bill, please contact your elected representatives as soon as possible and urge them to continue their fight against these cuts.
Representative Rush Holt, 202-225-5801
Senator Robert Menendez, 202-224-4744
Senator Corey Booker, 202-224-3224
In the meantime, have a healthy and happy New Year, but please remember those for whom the next meal is a challenge.
|Stephanie Chorney Chair
Liz Cohen, Founder
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 has been the baked goods and bagels donated each week by The Village Bakery and Maidenhead Bagels, both of Lawrenceville. Neither one will no longer be participating in our food drive, but their generosity over the years has been most appreciated. In combination, the two bakeries were responsible in 2012 for almost 5,000 pounds of donated baked goods.
Yes We CAN! Food Drives now provide 15% 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 December 2012:
202,126 pounds of food collected
An equivalent of 101 tons
In 2012, Yes We CAN! Food Drives collected 44,000 lbs of food, which is equivalent to contributing 15% of all the food donated by the different groups that contribute to the Crisis Ministry food pantries.
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, and farmers market. 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)
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.
|Stephanie Chorney 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.