PATERSON With unprecedented requests for food coming from the poor throughout Passaic, Morris and Sussex counties, Bishop Serratelli has authorized the second annual diocesan-wide food drive in all parishes to assist the food pantries at Catholic Charities and at parishes. The food drive will be held the weekend of June 6-7, when the Church celebrates the Feast of the Body of Christ, also known as Corpus Christi.
“Conducting a diocesan-wide food drive in all our parishes to literally feed the Body of Christ is a wonderful way to celebrate this feast,” Bishop Serratelli said.
Joe Duffy, president of diocesan Catholic Charities and executive director of Straight and Narrow, said, “Each summer our food pantries and many of our parishes’ food pantries experience severe shortages due to fewer food donations coming in over the summer and greater need for food especially among children. This collection will help alleviate that annual food shortage.”
During the school year, many school age children receive free or reduced-price meals and snacks but during the summer, when school is not in session, these children do not receive these meals. In addition, less food donations are made to food pantries during the summer months. As a result, this is the second year the diocese is hosting the food collection. Last year, 84 parishes participated in the food drive.
Different from other collections in which parishioners are given a list of suggested food items needed, each parish has been designated to collect one or two specific food items for the Corpus Christi collection. The reason for this is to assure Catholic Charities has sufficient quantities of each item. Some examples include a collection of canned meats and fish at some parishes while other parishes collect boxes of pasta. Announcements from pastors were made to parishioners on what specific food item to collect at their parish.
There will be three local delivery sites — one in each of the three counties of the diocese — in Passaic County, the Father English Community Center in Paterson, in Morris County, the parish hall at St. Simon Parish in Green Pond and in Sussex County, Catholic Charities Partnership for Social Services Family Center in Franklin.
“It would be a tremendous help to us if each parish could deliver the food they collect to us,” said Duffy. “If they cannot, we will make arrangements and schedule a pick-up.”
The collection will also assist parishes that operate their own food pantry. While Catholic Charities will receive the food collected in this drive, the agencies will share these donations with any parish pantry having a need.
Also, if parishioners will be away from their home parish or unable to bring food during the weekend of June 6-7, they are invited to make a cash donation.
“With the collection on the Feast of the Body of Christ all parishes in the diocese will be able to act in solidarity and literally feed that Body. We are hopeful that this collection will assure for the first time in recent years that there will be no shortage of food in our Catholic Charities and parish food pantries. I thank the pastors, priests and parishioners so much for participating in the second annual Feast of Corpus Christi diocesan-wide food collection,” said Duffy.