More than twelve pallets of food were made accessible to local families in need thanks to (Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse).
During , Livingston residents joined with local day camps and supermarkets to donate healthy food and non-perishable items to be delivered to the C.H.O.W. warehouse. Housed at , C.H.O.W, spearheaded by Sister Barbara Howard and a project of the Livingston Clergy Association, is open for families to pick up much needed food and supplies on a drop-in basis.
Before the event, the shelves at C.H.O.W. were bare, however thanks to the combined efforts of Livingston residents, Kings, Shoprite, Stonybrook Day Camp, Livingston Kids’ Camp and the West Essex YMCA summer camps, twelve large pallets were filled with bags and bags of food and supplies and delivered to the warehouse. Excess food collected was then donated to soup kitchens and food pantries in the surrounding areas.
“This event addressed a critical and immediate need, and thanks are in order to all that supported the event,” said Livingston resident Stacey Rubinstein, a local volunteer who helped organize the event. “In fact, by the time the Stuff the Bus pulled into National Night Out, it was nearly 3/4th full with food and supplies.”
Families came the next day to pick up much needed items. At least one local food pantry, which was completely empty, was scheduled to do the same. C.H.O.W. kept some food and supplies for the month of August, which is typically a low donation month.
The day started with a camp bus from Stonybrook Day Camp, located in Randolph and serving many Livingston families, delivering donations collected by campers to Livingston. According to Rubenstein, whose kids attend Stonybrook, the camp had held a special challenge to fill a camp bus with food and supplies. The camp bus, which was overflowing with bags, met the Stuff the Bus bus at for a donation transfer. Members of Stonybrook Day Camp’s Teen Xtreme program, along with Livingston Deputy Mayor Rudy Fernandez, helped transfer the bags and the teens were also able to speak with Sister Barbara about C.H.O.W. and learn how the pantry works.
The bus then headed down to the to meet up with campers from Livingston Kids' Camp. The camp had been promoting the event all summer and collecting canned goods.
The bus then headed over to the , where their summer camps had been running a week-long collection drive at their four locations. The participating camps included Camp Peanut Shell, Super Summer Day Camp, Pioneer Trails Day Camp and Teen Adventure Camp.
The bus then hit up local supermarkets on its trek to National Night Out. At , their staff promoted the event and recommended items to customers to purchase. The Livingston supermarket also donated $200 in gift cards to distribute to families in need.
Then the bus went to , which organized a pre-event collection of much needed items. The Kings collection was significant as Kings staff wheeled out nine carts full of items that had been purchased by customers in advance. The carts included diapers, baby food and many healthy food items.
“Since its beginning, people in our faith communities, Livingston organizations as well as the community as a whole, have made people’s lives a little brighter due to the incredible outpouring money and food items. It truly has taken on a life of its own, and we are so grateful for the community support,” Rev. Daniel Martian, President of the Livingston Clergy Association, said following June’s Stuff the Bus.
Stuff the Bus is part of Livingston’s second annual town wide community service project. The effort is coordinated by Deputy Mayor Rudy Fernandez and features service organizations such as the Livingston Sunrise Rotary Club, the Livingston Kiwanis Club, UNICO, Livingston Knights of Columbus Council 3553, Livingston Masonic Lodge #11, Livingston American Little League and HCHY.