The following article was written by Marilyn Joyce Lehren, manager of communications and community outreach for Livingston Public Schools.
With the shelves empty at the community food pantry, seeing the yellow school bus pull up loaded with boxes of food, canned goods, fresh vegetables and fruit, was reason alone to cheer. But for the hungry in Livingston, seeing the shelves restocked by students and community residents, it was clear that being stuffed never felt so good.
Livingston schools were partners in a town-wide effort to Stuff the Bus on Thursday, Oct. 17. Students replenished shelves at Livingston Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse, which serves local families in need. Temple Beth Shalom preschoolers donated fresh fruit and vegetables, Riker Hill families contributed healthy recipes, and shoppers at King’s Supermarket filled a dozen carts full of food.
The need for donations has never been greater. Poverty continues to rise in New Jersey and in 2011 was 10.4 percent statewide. Essex County has the highest rate in the state at 17.6 percent. Volunteers from the township’s Food Day Committee organized this event, with students participating as part of the service activities schools are engaged in.