ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — The Junior League of the Oranges & Short Hills, together with MEND and other volunteer organizations, came together at America’s Grow-a-Row in Pittstown to harvest fresh produce. Together, volunteers picked more than 4,000 pounds of tomatoes, which will provide more than 16,000 servings of farm fresh produce for so many individuals and families struggling with food insecurity in the area.
JLOSH strives to mitigate the challenges many children and their families in its service area face in accessing basic needs through its Fill the Need Initiative. The initiative aims to close gaps in food insecurity, and the need for essential clothing, school supplies and basic hygiene through targeted community service and impact work.
“We value our partnership with America’s Grow-a-Row and were delighted to volunteer with them again this year,” JLOSH President Isabelle Felix said. “Spending just a few hours harvesting fresh produce at the farm can provide so much support for our local food pantries that serve children and their families in our area.”
“Volunteers, such as the members of the Junior League of the Oranges and Short Hills, are the backbone of America’s Grow-a-Row,” said Chip Paillex, president and founder of America’s Grow-a-Row. “When a team such as JLOSH takes time out of their busy Sunday afternoon to work hard in the fields harvesting produce for those who are faced with food insecurity, it really speaks to their character and commitment to supporting their neighbors in need.”
America’s Grow-a-Row is a nonprofit organization and farm that grows and gleans fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables that are donated to those facing hunger throughout New Jersey and beyond. All produce grown at America’s Grow-a-Row is donated to food banks and hunger relief agencies.
“Harvesting with JLOSH at America’s Grow-a-Row is a win-win for our pantries,” MEND Executive Director Robin Peacock said. “A few hours spent volunteering on the farm yields a bounty of donated fresh produce that many food pantries would not otherwise be able to offer.”
MEND, a nonprofit organization, is an interfaith network of 20 food pantries in Essex County that strengthens, supports and advocates for its pantry network by providing supplemental food, funds, volunteers and a monthly forum for collaboration.