By Jason Cohen
While many students dread returning to school in September,
West Morris Central High School freshmen Kristen Poggi and Sarah Daly had a busy summer planning a Back-to-School Food Drive to benefit the Long Valley Food Pantry Pantry.
The Long Valley Food Pantry is located inside the Long Valley Presbyterian Church on Bartley Road, and currently serves approximately 70 families from the area.
“We chose to complete the food drive as our “Take Action” project after talking with some representatives of the food pantry at the National Night Out, which was held at Rock Spring Park this summer,” the girls told the Black River News.
From Sept. 2 to 11, the girls collected about 500 food items from the schools in Washington Township. They sent out flyers to families with children in grades kindergarten through eighth, put bins in each building and collected the bins after a week and a half. The bins were transported to the food pantry; the food was organized by expiration date and then by item in order to stock the shelves.
The girls were very organized in their task at hand, asking each grade to collect different items.
Kindergarten students from the Washington Township elementary schools collected condiments and salad dressings.
First grade students collected coffee, tea, canned juice and box milk.
Second graders were asked to bring in canned fruit, canned vegetables and applesauce.
Third grade students brought in soups, stews and rice.
Fourth graders were assigned canned meats such as chicken, tuna and spam.
Fifth graders generously supplied pancake mix, hot/cold cereals and syrups.
Sixth graders were asked to donate peanut butter, jelly and healthy snack bags.
Seventh graders brought in toilet paper, paper towels and laundry detergent.
Eighth graders supplied toiletries and personal hygiene items.
Both girls have completed other community service activities while earning their Girl Scout Bronze and Silver awards. They have completed other service projects with their troop such as helping with an Intergenerational Dinner and a Mother Day Brunch.
They are now in the early phase of their Gold Award, researching areas of need in the community so as to help determine the direction their Gold Award projects will take.
As members of the girl scouts since the first grade, the girls used to be in a troop together, but due to other commitments such as sports; they were unable to continue. Now they are Juliette Girl Scouts. They are at the beginning stages of developing their next community service project, which will help them earn the Girl Scout Gold Award.
Margaret Carberry, who works for the pantry, educated the girls about how it provides the necessary food and non-food items for about 75 families in the area.
“Ms. Carberry was a big help,” the girls said.
They felt very grateful to the community and school district for all of the food donations.
The girls also received positive feedback from the food pantry and the West Morris Regional High School Board of Education. The girls attended the Oct. 6 BOE meeting to thank the school district for helping them complete the project.