‘Every little bit helps’

Harrison Township Environmental Commission to hold food and shoe drives for families in need

While many families will soon gather around the table to feast in celebration of the holiday season, many will not. Millions of Americans go hungry each day; therefore to combat food insecurities within the Mullica Hill community and its surrounding area, the Harrison Township Environmental Commission will host a food drive on Oct. 23 through Lights on Main on Nov. 25.

Bins to collect donated canned and boxed goods will be available at the ShopRite of Mullica Hill, located at 143 Bridgeton Pike, as well as the Municipal Building, at 114 Bridgeton Pike. Simultaneously, the Environmental Commission will be hosting a shoe drive to collect new and used shoes for those in need. Shoe donations can be dropped off at the Municipal Building only.

“Our initial goal was to find something that would be meaningful,” said Lawrence Moore, vice chair of the Environmental Commission. “Instead of handing candy out, because everybody at Lights on Main will be handing out treats, we wanted to do something that would make a difference.”

According to Moore, Lights on Main, which attracts more than 3,000 residents and visitors each year, will act as the food and shoe drive’s “grand finale.” Donations can be made at the commission’s tent to finish the community outreach project strong, while learning what the commission is, and what it has planned for the township.

“These collections are our way of putting our residents and our town first, and really doing our part to try and help the community,” Moore said.

Moore encouraged residents to think of the families and neighbors who will go without a meal as they shop for groceries, insisting “every little bit helps.”

“Not everybody has the budget to donate or to even buy food for themselves, but if you have extra to spare, buy a can or box or two and throw it in there,” Moore said. “If 20 people walk into the store and each buy a can, that’s now 20 cans — just imagine how many people walk in and out of the store every day. That’s a lot of people. That would be a lot of cans.”

According to the United Stated Department of Agriculture, in 2016 there were 41.2 million people living in food-insecure households in America, with 10.8 million adults identified as having very low food security. Additionally, approximately 6.5 million children lived in food-insecure households.

“Families every day go without a meal, children go to school everyday without a meal and then they come home without having a meal,” Moore said. “These are things that happen not only nationwide, but in our backyard.”

Moore said the commission anticipates involvement with the local school districts, however the process of receiving proper approvals has not yet gotten underway.

For more information, visit the Environmental Commission page on the township website at www.harrisonwp.us.