In 2001, the food bank's cupboards were scantily
stocked and much of that was out dated cans and packages. We had less than $1,000 in the bank. Donations for the
past year had totaled only $2,500, with CAFFREY's Restaurant donating $1,500 of the that. One other sponsor, local
attorney Art Stein, was also a steady contributor but despite their support, it became apparent that we'd
have to discontinue the food bank program.
If we only had more sponsors, we reasoned, maybe we could
keep the program going. Because despite our meagerand often inadequate offerings, the needy came.
Many of them were the elderly, who might have to eat
tea and toast for dinner that last week if we were not there for them. Or parents unable to offer milk & cereal,
peanut butter & jelly or protein at dinnertime to their children.
So we devised the "Esteemed Sponsor" program and via
letters and fliers invited participation from those in the community who wanted to share their resources with those less
Each sponsor commits to supporting one family for one
year by contributing $20 monthly, or $240 per family. This enables us to buy a $10. food certificate
to ShopRite and $10 worth of supplemental food not normally collected in food drives.
The esteemed sponsors have increased from 13
in 2002, to 28 in 2003, 39 in 2004 and 47 in 2005. Some make a commitment to donate $20 or more
a month, others do it in one lump sum.
Many private citizen sponsors renew their committmen every month as part of our favorite group "the
monthlies" (see below)
The client load also increased from 47 in
2001 to the present 150 families as we start off the year 2006 - so the esteemed sponsor program has become critical
to the ability of the food bank to keep up with the needs of the families.
The Lacey Garden Club, in a program started by Dorothy
Simon, takes up a collection at each meeting. They have sponsored two families for the last three years.
Caffrey's Restaurant, our first and only esteemed
sponsor for several years, supported 10 famies last year. No matter how you do it, or for how much, your committment
will keep the food bank alive.
Three esteemed sponsors took advantage of their
employer's matching funds for charity programs to double their gifts. Check it out with your employer, even
if you are retired. Home Depot and PSE&G are two employers who match their employees and retirees donations.
Our goal? To have a sponsor for each and every family
. And then to keep those committments going so that the food bank will remain solvent.
Help us reach the goal. Spread the word. You'll
feel good about yourself and by doing so will become a member of a very select group of people .