United Way of Gloucester County hosts annual food drive

Collection set to start on Feb. 21 and last through the week

Special to the Sun: United Way of Gloucester County will host its 17th annual Gloucester County Cares About Hunger food drive beginning Feb. 21. The goal is to provide 30,000 meals to needy families.

United Way of Gloucester County will collect donations for its 17th annual Cares About Hunger food drive from Feb. 21 through 27 at its Crown Point Road office in Thorofare.

The drive, sponsored by the Gloucester County Board of Commissioners’ Human Service Advisory Council and the People for People Foundation, encourages local businesses, organizations and residents to host their own drives, make monetary donations or drop off food at the United Way site.

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“Last year, we were able to provide 29,749 meals to Gloucester County residents,” said United Way’s Director of Community Engagement Jennifer Long. “We hope to provide over 30,000 meals with this year’s efforts.”

Here are preferred items for this year’s drive:

  • Canned tuna, chicken, corned beef, ham, salmon
  • Breakfast cereals (whole grain), oatmeal, granola bars, pancake mix
  • Peanut butter, beans (canned or dry), peanuts, sunflower seeds, almonds
  • Canned vegetables, fruits, soups, stews, chili, fruit cups, applesauce, dried fruit
  • Canned 100 percent fruit juices and shelf-stable dairy products
  • Rice, pasta, macaroni and cheese dinners

Other optional items that can be donated are pet food bags under 15 pounds and personal hygiene products, but glass jars or bottles are prohibited. Once all the donations are collected, United Way distributes the items to food banks and pantries in the county.

“We partner with the Food Bank of South Jersey to connect Gloucester County food pantries with the opportunity to ‘shop’ donated items, to restock their shelves on the day the food is collected,” Long explained. “Anything left is taken to the Food Bank of South Jersey to be distributed to Gloucester County food pantries at a later date.”

The United Way of Gloucester County has served the community since 1957, helping local families who struggle with food insecurity, especially as the pandemic continues.

“With 36,580 individuals facing food insecurities in Gloucester County, including 13,360 children, we need help fighting hunger in our community now more than ever,” Long said.

“Gloucester County is a caring, generous community, and we can improve the lives of our food insecure residents together through the Gloucester County Cares About Hunger food drive.”

For more information, email Jennifer Long at jlong@uwgcnj.org.

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