Rotary and food bank partner on mini pantries

Pop-ups will be organized monthly for the food insecure

Medford-Vincentown Rotarians Annabelle Estacio-Touhey, Kim Bezanis, Linda Snuffin, Fred Wasiak and Mike Czyzyk join Food Bank of South Jersey volunteers at Fawn Lake Village in Shamong for a pop-up food pantry.

The Medford-Vincentown Rotary Club and The Food Bank of South Jersey have partnered against hunger, with monthly pop-up pantries they will organize together.

The food bank hopes the pop-ups will provide immediate help for food insecurity by not only donating items but also teaching recipients to eat nutritiously and helping them find sustainable ways to improve their lives.

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 The Rotary club’s goal is to service the community and put that service above self. The club serves Medford, Medford Lakes, Southampton, Vincentown, Shamong and Tabernacle.

Due to his connection to both organizations, Food Bank of South Jersey president and CEO and Rotary club member Fred Wasniak noted that one of the opportunities he had with the Rotary was for a community-service project the group could support via pop-ups run by the food bank. 

The pantries are small, mobile food facilities that operate in areas without access to  nutritious food or grocery stores, according to the food bank. Volunteers assist with food distribution to communities the food bank serves in Salem, Burlington, Gloucester and Camden counties.

Earlier this month, food bank members and the Rotarians held their first collaborative pop-up pantry at Fawn Lake Village in Shamong, which will continue every first Thursday of the month from 11 a.m. to noon. Food donations come from the food bank, according to Kim Bezanis, public relations chair of the Rotary club and one of its volunteers, and donations range from milk and nonperishables to fresh bagels. At the Fawn Lake Village pop-up, the Medford  Bagel Shop provided fresh products for 20 to 40 people. 

 According to Wasniak, one in seven adults and one in five children are food insecure in South Jersey. He noted how impactful the partnership between the food bank and Rotary club is in combating that hunger.

“We can’t do it alone,” he acknowledged. “We have partnerships and collaborations, and that’s where the real strength is in providing and supporting and bringing the best to a community.”

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