Friday Foodstuffs 9.2.11: It’s Hunger Action Month, and Action is Needed

You don’t really have to look very hard to come across a story about the struggles people are having with providing food for their family.

The church that we belong to is involved in many different charitable endeavors. There is one food bank in Toms River that our church, in addition to making food and cash donations, offers the chance for children to help out with the packing of food. When the call was made to see when the kids could come to help out, they were told that the shelves were empty and the kids wouldn’t be really doing anything. Empty shelves.

This is a very difficult time for food banks: demand is ever increasing, and getting donations is becoming a greater challenge.

This month is designated as Hunger Action Month, and action is what is needed. I know that many of us are struggling just to pay our own bills and keep ourselves afloat (and we fall into that category right now), but there are those that are hurting even more. It’s a terrible and demoralizing feeling to not know how or when your next meal is coming. We as a society are capable on letting this ever happen, but that requires all of us that can to take some kind of action, whether it’s a monetary donation, a food donation, or a donation of your time through volunteering.

How can you get involved? You can start by going to the Feeding America website and seeing what food banks are in your area as well as the events they are holding this month. In addition, sites like ours and others in the area will have a special Anti-Hunger Advocates badge for the FoodBank of South Jersey to help raise awareness.

There is another way you can help out, and this one requires your love of dining out. I am very excited to announce a new venture that Deborah Smith of JerseyBites is rolling out. Combine your love for restaurant deals and your desire to help those in need and you get…3 SquareDeals! With 3 SquareDeals, you get great restaurant deals from local restaurants, and at the same time a contribution is made towards the Community FoodBank of New Jersey. That is an awesome win-win situation. Check out the website, and sign up to receive notifications about the official launch!

Although this is Labor Day weekend, there are some food events going on – with a little assist from Hurricane Irene. Some events from last weekend had to be rescheduled to this weekend due to the weather.

Tonight, enjoy a Friday Night Movie at the Vineyard at Coda Rossa in Franklinville starting at 7:30PM. And from Robin at SJ Locavore (via one of her readers), there the annual Tomato Taste Off at Bogart’s Books in Millville tonight from 6PM to 9PM.

On Saturday, you have the annual Tomato Festival at Wilbraham Park in West Cape May from 9AM to 5PM. The Golden Nugget Hotel (nee Trump Marina) is having a Shrimp Fest from 12PM to 8PM. Due to Hurricane Irene, Saturday will also be the day for the Claudia Crab Fest & Reunion at the Margate Log Cabin. The Claudia Fund was established to help brain tumor cancer research.

For Saturday and Sunday, you have Wine Stock at Natali Vineyards in Cape May Court House for wine and song and the Chocolate and Vanilla Flavor Festival at the Camden Children’s Garden (rescheduled due to the hurricane). You also have the St Monica Feast Day Celebration at St Monica on Pennsylvania Avenue in Atlantic City.

And for Sunday, it’s back to Camden for the Waterfront Backyard BBQ at Wiggins Waterfront Park on Mickle Boulevard from 2PM to 10PM.

Here’s your cooking class schedule for the weekend:

Tonight: Date Night: In The City at Viking Cooking School at Harrah’s in Atlantic City.

Tomorrow: Best of Class: Casual Dinner Party and Surf and Turf Workshop at Viking Cooking School and Gourmet Sandwiches at Academy of Culinary Arts at Atlantic Cape Community College in Mays Landing.

Sunday: Champagne Brunch and Italian Seafood Dinner at Viking Cooking School and Global Fish Recipes Every Cook Should Know at Sur La Table in Marlton.

Blogging Out Hunger

The Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts in Maple Shade are holding a special food drive until September 5 to help local food banks.

Comfort Keepers in Pitman is holding food drives this month to help seniors in need.

Here’s a wonderful story of how the Mill Pond Elementary School right here in Lacey Twp is helping the local food bank by donating food from its own garden.

And in the news this week…

So…the craziness of the Ocean City BYOB debate was ended, for now, due to a strip club in Sayerville. Yeah, weird – but not really when you see why.

Can’t find local shellfish? Blame it on Hurricane Irene.

Blueberries in Jersey not as plentiful next year? Blame it on Hurricane Irene.

Swedes Inn in Swedesboro has a new owner and is going under a major renovation.

Meanwhile, the Telford Inn in Mantua went under an unscheduled renovation – due to a car running into a wall.

And for all of you photographers and food lovers out there: the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey is holding a photo contest through October 1.

Enjoy your Labor Day weekend!



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