Gopal, Houghtaling and Downey Sponsor Thanksgiving Food Drive

OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Senator Vin Gopal and Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey are asking Monmouth County residents to donate food to help families and children in need throughout the 11th Legislative District during November.

“In the spirit of the Thanksgiving season, we’re asking residents to show their generosity to their less fortunate neighbors, helping underserved families who may not otherwise be able to put healthy meals on the table for their families,” said Gopal (D-Long Branch). “According to Fulfill, Monmouth County’s local food bank, two out of every five people it serves at its network of food pantries are children. With this food drive, we hope to support their efforts to help struggling households feed their families.”

The legislators are asking residents to drop off non-perishable food items at the District 11 Legislative offices at 802 West Park Avenue, Suite 221 in Ocean Township. Donations can be dropped off on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. through Friday, November 22. All donations will be delivered to local organizations to feed families in need.

“No child should go to bed hungry - and when we come together, we can ensure that every child has the nourishment and nutrition they need to grow and develop,” said Houghtaling, (D-Neptune), who oversees the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee in the State Assembly. “By providing local children with daily nutritious meals, we can prevent illnesses, reduce visits to the hospital, and empower them to live healthier, happier lives.”

“Children who eat properly are more focused and better learners, with fewer behavioral, emotional, and academic challenges,” said Downey, (D-Freehold), who chairs the State Assembly Human Services Committee. “By keeping vulnerable children properly and nutritiously fed today, we can help them better socialize with their peers, stay out of trouble in school, and excel at home and in the classroom tomorrow.”

Residents are encouraged to donate any of the following non-perishable items: canned goods, especially tuna, chicken, salmon, canned veggies and fruits, cooking oils, shelf-stable milk and fruit juice; dry goods, including pancake mix and syrup and peanut butter and jelly; and soups, especially chicken noodle, chicken & rice, and beef vegetable; ready-to-eat canned meals, including chili (bean, chicken, beef), stew (vegetable, chicken, beef), ravioli (cheese, beef), chicken with rice & vegetables, and spaghetti & meatballs.

Other potential donations include hot cereals, especially oatmeal, steel-cut oats, farina, and muesli; and cold cereals, including Toasted O’s (original or honey nut), bran flakes, corn flakes, shredded wheat, brown rice, Grape-Nuts, Special K, Fiber One cereals, Cascadian Farms cereals, and Kashi cereals.

For additional information or questions, residents can call the District 11 legislative office in Ocean Township at (732) 695-3371.

Assemblywoman Downey is also encouraging local residents with tight food budgets to enroll in NJ SNAP, New Jersey's food assistance program.

“Nearly 900,000 New Jerseyans aren't able to keep themselves and their families fed,” said Downey, who oversees SNAP legislation as Assembly Chair of Human Services. “This holiday season, I want to make sure that anyone who needs a little extra help putting food on the table get the assistance they need. You can visit or call 1 (800) 987-9512 to check if you are eligible and apply today for food assistance for you and your household.”