Local organizations hope to provide holiday food and toys for 1,000 local families
SPARTA The Sparta Ecumenical Food Council in conjunction with the Sparta Kiwanis and Coupons for the Community is hosting their annual food and toy drive until Dec. 12. Based on last year’s numbers, they are expecting that as many as 1,000 local families will ask for assistance this holiday season.
These three organizations have joined together to reach their goal of providing two bags of food, a turkey and a new toy for each child to the 1,000 families who will sign-up for the program in the coming weeks.
“Due to the recent recession, the number of families experiencing food insecurity in our community has reached an all-time high. This increase has put a tremendous strain on local pantries. During the holiday season we rely on donations from the entire community to help meet the increased demand,” said Janice Ernsting, food pantry administrator of Sparta Ecumenical Food Council.
“By working together, we can achieve what one group cannot accomplish alone. Now is the time that we need to support our community, particularly in these difficult economic times when the needs are so great,” said Suzanne Stigers, founder of Coupons for the Community.
Non-perishable food along with new, unwrapped toys can be dropped off from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily at the First Presbyterian Church of Sparta, at 32 Main St.
Monetary donations are also needed and can be mailed to the same address. Make checks payable to the First Presbyterian Church of Sparta and mark them “Christmas Baskets.”
Food items needed include; peanut butter and jelly, breakfast cereal, oatmeal, spaghetti sauce and pasta, canned chicken, tuna or ham, soup and toiletries.
The Sparta Ecumenical Food Council is a faith-based, non-profit food pantry that has been serving Sussex County residents for over 20 years.
The Kiwanis Club of Sparta has been serving Sparta and Sussex County for over 61 years. The club is associated with Kiwanis International whose mission is “To serve the children of the World.”
Coupons for the Community is a program made up of local volunteers who collect manufactures coupons and use them to purchase food and toiletries for local food pantry’s for pennies on the dollar. Since their inception in October of 2009, the group has donated over $70,000 in items at a cost of $7,000.