On August 4, 2018, the ONE Project, a faith and community coalition that addresses social needs through education and volunteerism, hosted the 2018 NJ Hunger Project at Robbinsville High School. The ONE Project, working with Feeding Children Everywhere, brought together over 1,600 community volunteers and packaged 131,328 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 red lentils, rice, dehydrated vegetables, and pink Himalayan salt, is nutritious, non-perishable, and best of all, only costs 27 cents per meal. The ONE Project team raised the money for the meals through the help of over 50 local businesses and community organizations, and donations from over 170 generous individuals.
The meals were donated to Mercer Street Friends Food Bank and other partners and will be distributed throughout New Jersey. These meals will specifically target summer feeding sites and the “Send Hunger Packing” program, which is part of Feeding America’s National BackPack Program. Both of these programs are designed to target low-income children in Mercer County who struggle to afford food when they are out of school.
These meals are particularly impactful considering that Feeding America’s research project, Map the Meal Gap, shows that almost 270,000 children in New Jersey or 1 in every 7 children are food insecure. ONE Project Board Member, Dave Doran said, “1,600 volunteers chose action over complacency, a voice instead of silence, and love over indifference. They are proof that as a community we are better together.”
Led by Aanya Gupta and Ashley Stamboulian, the ONE Project’s Youth Council brought in over 500 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 also ran the event logistics, organized the food packing, and brought a contagious energy to the day.