BRIDGEWATER, NJ – In an effort to address record demand at Somerset County food pantries, Somerset Patriots Co-Chairmen Jonathan and Josh Kalafer, this week presented checks totaling $25,000 to four area food banks and pantries, as part of a “Somerset Challenge” matching grant that produced more than $50,000 in total
BRIDGEWATER, NJ – In an effort to address record demand at Somerset County food pantries, Somerset Patriots Co-Chairmen Jonathan and Josh Kalafer, this week presented checks totaling $25,000 to four area food banks and pantries, as part of a “Somerset Challenge” matching grant that produced more than $50,000 in total donations during the recent holidays. The donations are expected to help tens of thousands of Somerset County residents in need.
The campaign represented a collaboration between the Kalafer family’s businesses, the Somerset County Board of County Commissioners, and the Somerset County Office of Emergency Management, which encouraged public donations to the local food banks and pantries.
Matching grants from the Patriots, Clinton Honda and Land Rover Princeton were distributed to these banks and pantries in the following amounts:
- My Neighbors Pantry at Zarephath Church: $3,170.
- Food Bank Network of Somerset County: $3,540.
- Franklin Food Bank: $9,145.
- Feeding Hands Inc.: $9,145.
“We applaud the generosity of the Somerset Patriots and the Kalafer family, in helping us raise awareness and funding to address the serious food insecurity problem we are facing this holiday season,” said Somerset County Commissioner Director Shanel Y. Robinson. “High food prices and reduced Federal support have created a serious shortfall in resources to address hunger here and across the country.”
“Unfortunately, food insecurity in our area is at a point that demands immediate attention and support from our community,” said Josh Kalafer. “No one should be unable to provide food for their family or not have the assistance available to them through local food banks and organizations.”
Added Jonathan Kalafer, “The Somerset Challenge was an aggressive campaign that addressed a serious need. The way our community comes together to identify and address issues is another reminder of how fortunate we are. The people really are what makes Somerset such a fantastic place."
*The Need for Assistance Is Real
*Clients of food pantries in Somerset County include many people seeking assistance for the first time, as well as longer-term clients. James is an example of a new client at Feeding Hands in Hillsborough. Once employed in a corporate job, he now works for a food delivery service company. Even working full-time, he cannot make ends meet. “Rents are too expensive averaging about $2,000 per month, plus gas, health insurance, medication costs, and the price of food is rising,” he said. “The food bank has been a blessing not only for me but for a lot of people who are struggling. There’s a stigma about getting help from a food bank, but the volunteers are so welcoming and kind, they put everyone at ease. Anyone who is feeling uncomfortable about receiving assistance from a food bank should just stop by and they will feel better about it, knowing they are not alone.” A Feeding Hands client of five years is Dolores M., who cannot afford to feed her family of five children with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits alone. “There are times when we’ve had to share an apple. I don’t like having to rely on benefits but have no choice,” said Dolores tearfully. “I have hope for the future though. My daughter is an honor student in math, and she will go to college on a scholarship. All of my children are smart, and I am looking forward to them having a brighter future. For now, the foodbank is helping us get by.”
*About the Somerset Patriots
*The Somerset Patriots are the New York Yankees Double-A Affiliate and develop today’s top minor league talent into the pinstriped superstars of tomorrow for MLB’s winningest team. The Patriots were the 2022 Eastern League Champions and played their home games at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater, NJ, where fans of all ages and levels of baseball fandom get to enjoy the unique experience that is minor league baseball. To learn more, visit: somersetpatriots.com.*