Friday, September 13th, 2013

For the second year in a row, MorrisCounty is partnering with several nonprofit agencies in an initiative aimed at helping local food pantries meet the needs of Morris County families at risk of hunger.
The initiative, Morris County Municipal Action to Curb Hunger or M.c.M.A.T.C.H., is a contest that encourages Morris County municipal governments to conduct food drives this month to support local pantries of their choosing.

Frank Pinto, director of the Morris County Department of Human Services, said each municipality has been assigned to a division based on its population.  Towns that collect the most food in their divisions will be recognized at the Human Services Public Officials Forum in October.

Municipalities in the county and their employees are encouraged to be creative and create their own programs of collecting non-perishable food through inter-departmental competitions, public drives, town hall collection sites or online, Pinto said.  Financial contributions will also be accepted, with $1 counting as 1 pound.

For contest rules or more information, visit www.vmcnj.org/mcmatch or www.mcifp.org or www.MorrisHumanServices.org.  The competition ends Sept. 30.

Earlier this month, the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders issued a proclamation declaring September to be Hunger Awareness Month in the county to call attention to the M.c.M.A.T.C.H. program.

The proclamation urges Morris Countyresidents to support M.c.M.A.T.C.H. by dropping off nutritious non-perishable food donations at their town hall to benefit the food pantry of the town’s choosing.

Rosemary Gilmartin, executive director of the Interfaith Food Pantry, said at her agency, which serves all of Morris County, 5,000 Morris County residents sought help in the first five months of 2013.  She said the Food Pantry has distributed more than 349,000 pounds of food to date, which comes out to 1.7 tons of food per day.
Last year’s M.c.M.A.T.C.H contest generated nearly 25,000 pounds of food for area food pantries, with Mount Olive, Rockaway Borough and Mendham Borough placing first in their respective divisions and Mount Olive winning the overall competition by collecting 1,692 pounds of food and $2,750 in monetary contributions.

M.C.M.A.T.C.H. is jointly sponsored by the Morris County Department of Human Services, the Morris County Youth Shelter, the Interfaith Food Pantry, the Volunteer Management Center, Curbing Hunger, Inc., and You Give Goods, and is patterned after a similar program in Somerset County.