ACUA employees Angel Rodriquez, Charles Brown and Jonathan Rivera helped to collect more than 37,000 pounds of food for the Community FoodBank of NJ Southern Branch.

EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP –  The Atlantic County Utilities Authority Holiday Food Drive collected more than 37,150 pounds of food for the Community FoodBank of New Jersey Southern Brach, exceeding the previous year’s collection by more than 15,000 pounds. Residents in Atlantic County put out bags of canned, nonperishable items with their recycling between Dec. 7-18.  ACUA’s recycling collection crews picked up donations during the annual two-week drive.

It was the 30th year for the ACUA’s Holiday Food Drive, which provides residents with an easy and convenient way to help the needy while helping the environment. All canned goods collected through the Holiday Food Drive are distributed through the Community FoodBank and its 300 partner agencies in Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland counties.

With increased need driven by a high unemployment rate, Atlantic County has been especially hard hit by closures due to the pandemic and is reported to have the state’s highest rate of food insecure people.

“We sincerely appreciate the generosity of all the Atlantic County residents who donated the much needed food during this year’s Holiday Food Drive,” ACUA President Rick Dovey said. “COVID related hardships have impacted many Atlantic County residents deeply. And yet, this year’s Food Drive was outstanding, collecting over 15,000 pounds more than we did last year.” 

ACUA employees Tywayne Belcher and Nick Rivera.

“The Community FoodBank is grateful for our continued partnership with the ACUA during this critical time,” the FoodBank’s Director of External Affairs Denise Hladun said. “The food collected during this annual drive reflects the generosity of our community and provides essential nutrition to our neighbors in need. It is this generosity on a local level that enables us to continue feeding South Jersey with the help of the more than 300 partner agencies in our network.”

The 37,150 pounds of food collected during 2020 ACUA food drive brings the total amount of food collected over the past 30 years to more than 963,892 pounds.

“This year’s success reflects the incredible generosity of Atlantic County residents,” Dovey said. “The Holiday Food Drive is one of our most important community programs and we are truly grateful for everyone’s participation.”

For more information, contact the Community FoodBank of NJ, Egg Harbor Township, at 609-383-8843 or the Atlantic County Utilities Authority at 609-272-6950.

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.