Food insecurity, or hunger, is the lack of enough food to lead a healthy and active life. Each year, Fulfill provides food and other resources for over 136,000 of our neighbors who are food insecure.
Two out of every 5 people served through our network of food pantries and other community
If you call the office or email Kami on Monday and Friday mornings, it is unlikely you will reach her. She spends that time doing one of her favorite things to do: Volunteer at fulfill.
Monday is spent at the warehouse in Neptune most packing crisis boxes that contain canned goods, dry goods for breakfast, sometimes milk and personal items such as deodorant and toothpaste. One day a week snack bags are made up for kids to take home from school on Friday. Friday is the drive-up food distribution where you can drive up and have food placed in your car.
In the summer donated back packs and school supplies are sorted and repacked according to age groups.
And then there is the sorting room. Donated items are sorted through checking expiration dates, grouping together similar items and redirected to pantries and other programs.
Oh, did I mention that ALL of this is done by the kindness of Donations and Volunteers?
This is quite an operation that I am grateful to be a part of. It is a humbling experience that opened my eyes to a real problem right in “my own backyard”. My journey started in the Neptune warehouse and led to me to the PEOPLE’S PANTRY in Toms River that was originated in the immediate aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. It took something this devastating to unearth the previously hidden struggle with food insecurity. One in ten residents in our county struggle with lack of a consistent and stable source of food. This is not the homeless. In fact it could be your neighbor, co-worker or family member that simply live pay check to paycheck and have to choose between keeping the heat on or food on the table.
Fulfill helps families apply for other benefits such as assistance paying for utilities and other basic needs.
This has really opened my eyes not only to the problem that exists but to the selflessness of others who are willing to raise their hand and say “I’ will help make a difference in my community.”
Sometimes there are mounds of donations to sort through and display for those to shop for. And sometimes there is very little.
How can we do our part to help our neighbors? There are so many ways.
- Find a pantry in your area and volunteer
- DONATE your time, nonperishable items such as: canned/dry goods, personal hygiene items, baby diapers, wipes, formula, etc. Items used in our daily routine without even thinking about it are greatly needed.
- Encourage kids to get involved early
- Spread the word