On July 30, 2016, the ONE Project, a faith and community coalition organized to efficiently and effectively address social needs through education and volunteerism, hosted the 2016 NJ Hunger Project at Robbinsville High School. The ONE Project, working with Feeding Children Everywhere, brought together 700 community volunteers and packaged over 50,000 meals for hungry kids in New Jersey.
Volunteers packaged 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. The ONE Project team raised the money for the meals through the help of over 30 local businesses and community organizations.
The ONE Project’s Youth Council, led by Ashley Stamboulian (Robbinsville High School), Nate LeCompte (Lawrence High School), and Akshat Gokhale (Middlesex Academy), whom are a collection of student leaders from schools throughout New Jersey, 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 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’s event chair Jay Modi, “We are better together and each volunteer here today has taken the first step in making our community a better place.”