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Can-Can Competition Results in Big Win for Caldwell Food Pantry

Local schools collect more than 7,700 non-perishable food items.

After a month of friendly competition, the results are in and the Caldwell-West Caldwell School District donated more than 7,700 canned goods and other non-perishable items to the Caldwell Food Pantry in time for the holiday season.

Designed by the principals and supported by Superintendent Dr. James Heinegg, the idea for the competition was created when the administrators learned about the local food pantry’s diminished supplies following Hurricane Sandy.

For the entire month of December, the schools held a friendly competition to see which school could donate the most items per student. Lincoln Elementary School held on to the lead until the very last week, when Washington, Wilson and Jefferson elementary schools pulled ahead in the competition.

Jefferson Elementary School won the competition, donating nearly four items per student. District-wide, an average of more than three items per student was donated. 

“It was a fun way for the schools to compete with one another for a great cause,” said Jefferson Principal Tim Ayers. “I am always amazed at the generosity of our families and I am glad we were all able to give back to the community that does so much for us.” 

The real winner, however, was the Caldwell Food Pantry.

“We went from one box of cereal on our shelves to more than 200,” said Department of Human Services Director Maria Burak. “This was wonderful for us. We are overwhelmed by the support of the schools and we were able to help so many families as a result of these donations.” 

However, the food pantry can still use help. Donations to the pantry typically dwindle in January and February, but the number of families in needs does not.

Donations can be left at the pantry at any time. Food pantry hours are Monday, 4 to 6 p.m.; Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and Thursday, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., and a cart located inside the front door is provided for donations outside of normal operating hours. For more information or to volunteer, call 973-403-4623.

This article was provided by Caldwell-West Caldwell Schools.

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