The concerns of our employees for their most destitute neighbors are fueling the second South Jersey collection drive of the summer. From July 17 – 29, three locations will be collecting items for Feeding 5000 and Operation Backpack: the 2001 (TIC) and 4001 (GHQ) buildings at Bishops Gate in Mt. Laurel, and the 444 Kings Highway building in Maple Shade. Look for white collection bins outside the elevators.
Feeding 5000 needs no introduction to our South Jersey employees. Since 2008 the faith-based group has been serving meals to the homeless and needy in Philadelphia, Camden, and Burlington County. Meeting at New Covenant Presbyterian Church in Mt. Laurel every Saturday morning, the group prepares a meal, drives it to a distribution site, and serves it to those who need that sustenance. They also give clothing, toiletries, and blankets to those lacking those necessities, and twice a month prepare and serve a meal at Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission in Philadelphia.
For this July collection, Feeding 5000 requests items the homeless need to deal with summer heat and storms: sunscreen, bucket hats and baseball caps, sunglasses, insect repellant, raincoats or ponchos, and small umbrellas. If you have questions about this specific collection or Feeding 5000 in general, you should reach out to board members Noele Walters (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Caitlin Cline (email@example.com).
Operation Backpack is the work of Steward Financial Services’ Brenda Gonzalez, who as a ten-year-old in upstate New York benefited from free school supplies after the sudden death of her father. The experience left Brenda with an acute appreciation of need coupled with a powerful desire to help others. Work at her Camden church’s food bank, and watching children carrying books to school in plastic bags, rekindled her childhood memories of those free school supplies, and she decided she would work to make sure kids in Camden had backpacks and supplies to start school in September.
This year marks the fourth that Brenda, joined this year by fellow SFS’ers Keisha Copling and Charles Tiffany, have distributed these school necessities. She says Operation Backpack has touched about 2500 students thus far – but you can help increase that number! For the collection drive, Brenda, Keisha, and Charles are looking for new or gently used backpacks, of course, but also:
- Pencils/pencil cases
- Loose-leaf paper
- Glue sticks
Questions? Contact Brenda at firstname.lastname@example.org.