Residents stuff the bus for the needy

Donations to food pantry from throughout the area


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  • Ronda Konik and Allison Lisk from the Division of Social Services bundle up to collect food last Sunday for Stuff the Bus 2017 outside of the former Carl’s Auto in Lake Mohawk. Photos by Rose Sgarlato




  • Sparta Chief of Police Neil Spidaletto. Carol Novrit of Sussex County Food Pantry, Steve Scro of Mohawk House, Peighton Spidaletto, Lieut. Dennis Proctor, Cpl. Scott Elig, Lieut. John Lamon, Officer Tom Herd and Byram Chief of Police Pete Zabita outside Stop & Shop for this year’s Cram the Cruiser/Stuff the Bus 2017. All donations were transported to the Sussex County Food Pantry in Newton.




  • At the shipping point. From left, Sparta PD Det. Keith Hannam, Byram PD Lt. Ken Burke, Sparta PD Lt. John Lamon, Byram Police Chief Pete Zabita, Sparta Police Chief Neil Spidaletto, Director of Sussex County Food Pantry Carol Novrit, owner of Mohawk House Steve Scro, Sparta PD Det. Lt. Terrence Mulligan, Sparta PD Det. Brian Hassloch and Andover PD Officer Rich Then.




  • Peighton Spidaletto, daughter of Sparta's police chief, has a little fun while helping out at Cram the Cruiser/Stuff the Bus 2017 at Stop & Shop on Sunday, Nov.19.



By Rose Sgarlato

— The united effort of Mohawk House, other local businesses and local police officers resulted in another successful Stuff the Bus/Cram the Cruiser 2017 event last weekend with over 35,000 lbs. of food collected.

The 10th annual fundraising campaign , Nov. 17-19, for the Sussex County Food Pantry in Newton aims to stock up before the holidays as the need to feed the local hungry is bigger than ever. The pantry serves anyone in need of food and estimates that it feeds over 1200 people a month.

In addition, $6900 cash was raised-100% of which will go to purchasing food, reported Carol Novrit, administrator of Health and Human Services for Sussex County who oversees the pantry located at 83 Spring Street in Newton.

“The food drive exceeeded our expectaions,” Novrit said. “I cannot thank enough the community, police chiefs IHeart Radio, Steve Scro, First Hope and all the businesses and people that contributed."

Sponsored by Mohawk House and stationed at the former Carl’s Auto Body in Lake Mohawk and Stop & Shop in Sparta, social services employees and police officers collected donations from residents on Saturday and Sunday. The food drive began on Friday at First Hope Bank in Andover before coming to Sparta on Saturday.

And on a busy supermarket day just four days before Thanksgiving, police officers were more than happy to cram the cruisers with donations from generous Stop & Shop customers.

“We had a great response this weekend with individuals giving and donating items to replenish the Sussex County Food Pantry. The generosity was impressive, “ said Sparta Police Chief Neil Spidaletto “I am proud to partner with our neighboring police agencies of Byram and Andover, Steve and Rachel Scro of the Mohawk House, and Nielson Dodge. A special thanks to Sparta Stop and Shop for always donating and allowing us to collect goods for this important event at their location.”

On Monday after the collection, police officers from Sparta, Byram and Andover Police and Mohawk House owner Steve Scro transported the items to the pantry in Newton.

This is Mohawk House’s second year sponsoring Stuff the Bus:

“It’s always a great way for everyone to come together to start the holiday season. Making a difference and giving back is such a great feeling, “ Scro said. “Each year we hear and share stories of loving families and people in need who appreciate what some take for granted.

The restaurant owner said that he finds it rewarding and uplifting to provide people with a hot meal and basic necessities. Scro added that the Mohawk House will serve as a drop-off point for any other food donations throughout the holiday season.

“It’s going to put a lot of Thankgiving dinners on people’s tables,” Novrit said.



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