On Wednesday, August 28th, Director Thomas Mastrangelo and the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders issued a Proclamation declaring the month of September “Hunger Awareness Month” officially launching the second annual “M.c.M.A.T.C.H.” campaign.
M.c.M.A.T.C.H, or Morris County Municipal Action to Curb Hunger, is an initiative created last year by Morris County Department of Human Services along with volunteers from the Morris County Youth Shelter and representatives from the Interfaith Food Pantry, Volunteer Management Centers Somerset-based Curbing Hunger, and YouGiveGoods.com to raise food for local families in need and promote awareness about the issue of local hunger.
M.c.M.A.T.C.H. is a contest in which each town is assigned to one of three divisions based on their population size. The three towns that raise the most food during the month of September will be championed at an awards ceremony at a Public Official’s forum on October 29th.
“Our ultimate goal was to create a forum where municipalities can help support local families in need in partnership with the non-profit community. We all work very hard to assist utilizing the resources we have, but the IFP and other food pantries fill the gap,” said Pinto. To date, twenty-eight of Morris County’s thirty-nine municipalities have signed onto the challenge.
The official rules of M.c.M.A.T.C.H. state that the towns may collect food in any manner they wish, through employee drives, contests and enlisting their communities to help. Many towns are raising food through YouGiveGoods.com, which has set up a contest page that allows people to purchase food online and share links with their friends and colleagues. All results will be tabulated on the YouGiveGoods site through September 30th when the contest ends.
Rosemary Gilmartin, Executive Director of the Interfaith Food Pantry said last year’s contest raised over 25,000 pounds of food, and that they are hoping for increased participation to meet an increasing demand for supplemental food in Morris County.
“So far this year we’ve served more than 2,500 households and distribute on average 1.7 tons of food per day. Food distribution is up about 25% over the same period last year, as many of our new families have had their full-time jobs replaced with part-time jobs, and the part-timers have had their hours reduced,” she added.
“The good news is that we do live in a great community where governments, houses of worship, businesses, families and non-profits all work together to help those in need. M.c.M.A.T.C.H. is a great example of how partnerships like this succeed in meeting and work together for the common good.”
For more information on M.c.M.A.T.C.H., visit the registration page on the Volunteer Management Centers website at www.vmcnj.org/mcmatch. If you or someone you know needs assistance, visit the Interfaith Food Pantry’s site at www.mcifp.org or call 973-538-8049.