By Samuel Smith
CCC Journalism Program
Camden County College and the South Jersey Food Bank are joining hands to take a bite out of hunger, as the college conducts its 2015 food drive.
The college and the food bank are asking members of the college community to donate non-perishable food items during the drive, which is taking place from Nov. 2 to Dec. 11.
The South Jersey Food Bank collects the donated non-perishable food items and takes them to its 65,000-square-foot distribution center in Pennsauken. The items are sorted out and then donated to more than 240 agencies, said Lou Martelli, director of media relations for the food bank. The agencies include soup kitchens, pantries and community outreach programs.
The South Jersey Food Bank is in its 30th year of helping those in need. It also operates The Hope Mobile, a mobile outreach that goes to people in need who find it difficult to get to a food help center, Martelli noted. On any given day, the Hope Mobile feeds 200 to 300 people.
The average person the food bank helps is someone in the low to middle income levels, Martelli said. These people fell on hard times primarily because of job loss. The food bank’s mission is to help those in need to get healthy, nutritious food to prevent falling into the fast food trap.
Children make up 35 percent and senior citizens make up 12 percent of the more than 204,000 people in the area who are not sure where their next meal is coming from, according to the food bank. Some senior citizens must choose between paying for medicine or eating a meal. Some children come to an empty plate at home after receiving a meal at school, which may be the only nutritious meal they eat that day.
The food drive is an opportunity to help others in need, said Jackie Tenuto, director of student life and activities on the Camden County College Blackwood campus, who is overseeing the food drive. “Just one can makes a difference,” Tenuto said.
The food drive collection areas are on the second floor of the Community Center on the Blackwood campus, the lobby of the William G. Rohrer Center on the Cherry Hill campus, the first floor of the Camden Technology Center and the lobby of College Hall on the Camden campus and the lobby of the Regional Emergency Training Center in Sicklerville.
Tenuto said she hopes this year’s collection will surpass last year’s, which totaled more than 105 pounds.