Fighting hunger: Rutgers students volunteer at Community FoodBank

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More than 150 students and staff from Rutgers University came out Saturday morning to volunteer with the Community FoodBank of New Jersey.

Students and faculty participated in the day of service – sorting and packing up food for families throughout the state. Families from more than a dozen counties will receive donations.

Adjunct Professor Michael Dillard of the Rutgers University-Newark School of Public Affairs and Administration is credited with organizing the event.

He says he offered students a chance to meet a personal challenge and gain life experience.

“If they really want to become public change agents, they really have to get out and get down and dirty,” he says. “This is the way to do it beyond the classroom.”

Renee Helfenstein, of Community FoodBank, says the organization is grateful for the help it receives during the holiday season but would like to see more support all year long. 

“People who are hungry for the holidays are hungry every day,” she says. “More than 50 percent of the people that we serve have at least one working household member in their family, and they just can't make ends meet.”

Experts say nearly 1 million people in New Jersey face hunger every day.

The event falls on the same day as the food bank's annual turkey drive, which is set to donate 25,000 birds across New Jersey by Thanksgiving.

The food bank also distributes diapers and hygiene products.

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