Food and toy drive for county residents

| 15 Feb 2012 | 10:02

    SPARTA — The Sparta Ecumenical Food Council in conjunction with the Sparta Kiwanis and Coupons for the Community will be hosting their annual food and toy drive to benefit local residents from now until Dec. 12. Based on last year’s numbers, they are expecting that as many as 800 families will ask for assistance this holiday season. These three organizations have joined together to reach their goal of providing two bags of food, a turkey and a new toy for each child to the 800 families who will sign-up for the program in the coming weeks. “The number of families experiencing food insecurity in our community continues to put a tremendous strain on local food pantries. During the holiday season we rely on donations from the entire community to help meet the increased demand,” said Sherry DeFeo, Sparta resident and this year’s Christmas Basket Chairperson. “By working together, we can achieve what one group cannot accomplish alone. Now is the time that we need to support our community, particularly in these difficult economic times when the needs are so great,” said Suzanne Stigers, founder, Coupons for the Community. Non-perishable food along with new, unwrapped toys can be dropped off from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily at the First Presbyterian Church of Sparta, 32 Main St, Sparta, NJ 07871. Monetary donations are also needed and can be mailed to the same address. Make checks payable to the First Presbyterian Church of Sparta and mark them Christmas Baskets. Food items needed include; peanut butter and jelly, breakfast cereal, oatmeal, spaghetti sauce and pasta, canned fruit, canned chicken, tuna or ham, soup and toiletries. The Sparta Ecumenical Food Council is a faith-based, non-profit food pantry that has been serving Sussex County residents for over 25 years. The Kiwanis Club of Sparta has been serving Sparta and Sussex County for over 62 years. The club is associated with Kiwanis International whose mission is To serve the children of the World. Coupons for the Community is program made up of local volunteers who collect manufactures coupons and use them to purchase food and toiletries for local food pantry’s for pennies on the dollar. Since their inception in October of 2009, the group has donated over $70,000 in items at a cost of $7,000.