The ONE Project, a faith and community coalition organized to efficiently and effectively address social needs through education and volunteerism, hosted the 2015 NJ Hunger Project on August 1, at Robbinsville High School. Working with Feeding Children Everywhere, The ONE Project brought together 500 community volunteers and packaged 50,000 meals for hungry kids in New Jersey.
The ONE Project team raised more than $16,000 in donations from over 40 local community sponsors and dozens of individual donations and the funds were used to purchase the ingredients for a lentil casserole meal created by nutritionists at Feeding Children Everywhere. This meal, which consists of lentils, rice, dehydrated vegetables, and pink Himalayan salt, is nutritious, non-perishable, and best of all, only costs 25 cents per meal.
Led by the ONE Project’s Youth Council, a collection of student leaders from schools throughout New Jersey, consisting of Ashley Stamboulian (Robbinsville High School), Kabir Suri (Lawrence High School), Akshat Gokhale (Middlesex Academy), and Bharath Jaladi (West Windsor-Plainsboro South High School), they brought in over 100 student volunteers in an effort to express the importance of community service to students. Not only did they bring in a diverse group of volunteers, but they kept the crowd energized with rallying cheers every time a box of meals was filled.
The meals were donated to Community FoodBank of New Jersey and Mercer Street Friends Food Bank’s “Send Hunger Packing” program. This program, which is part of Feeding America’s national BackPack Program, is designed to target low-income children in Mercer County who struggle to afford food when they are out of school. The kids will receive a backpack full of nutritious food, including the 50,000 lentil casserole meals, to help bridge the hunger gap in our community.
These meals are particularly impactful considering that Feeding America’s research project, Map the Meal Gap, shows that almost 400,000 children in New Jersey or 1 in every 5 children are food insecure. As stated by ONE Project co-founder and Lifetree Community Church Pastor Dan Greco, “[a]s long as there are people in need, our work is never done.”
The ONE Project also collaborated with the New Jersey Ancient Order of Hibernians (NJAOH) to make August 1st, “A Day Against Hunger.” After the 2015 NJ Hunger Project, the community gathered for Mercer County II: Honoring the Red, White, and Blue at Mercer County Park festival grounds to salute our servicemen and servicewomen while also supporting Battle Against Hunger, which helps feed the hungry in Mercer County. Together, the ONE Project and NJAOH have taken the first step in bringing local business, faith groups, and community partners under one roof in order to take on some of our community’s most pressing needs.
For more information about The ONE Project, check out their FaceBook page at https://www.facebook.com/oneprojectnj.