Volunteers: Operation Feeding Morris County

Participates in more than 20,000 pounds of food distributed to over 500 families in need

Volunteers Dover Police Officer and Kiwanis Member Ilmi Bojkovic, Tyler Brookes, Chris Sorrentino, Kylie Mastropolo, Austyn Brookes, Byrce Brookes, and Dylan Brookes distributing the food to residents at Birchwood School

MORRIS COUNTY — On Saturday, June 26 at Birchwood Elementary School, 1 Art Street, Rockaway, Kiwanis Club of Rockaway Valley, along with other surroundings Kiwanis clubs, carried out Operation: Feeding Morris County.

With the help of surrounding Kiwanis clubs, over 75 volunteers, multiple sponsors, and many more, they were able to distribute over 20,000 pounds of food to over 500 families in need.

Kiwanis Club purchased 20,000 pounds of food to feed over 500 families in need
Boxes of food, packed by volunteers to be distributed at Birchwood School
Plenty of gallons of milk were included
Pallets of food being loaded off the tractor-trailer

Kiwanis Club of Rockaway Valley, a new Kiwanis Club being formed to serve Rockaway Township, Rockaway Borough, Wharton, and Dover, is sponsored by Kiwanis Club of Greater Roxbury.

Local Kiwanis clubs included Kiwanis Club of Greater Roxbury, Kiwanis Club of Greater Parsippany, Tri-Town Kiwanis Club, and Kiwanis Club of South Orange/Maplewood. With the help of these clubs, the towns that we’re able to hold food pick-up locations included Roxbury, Rockaway, South Orange, and Maplewood.

Scattered throughout all locations were over 75 volunteers, including Kiwanis Member and Dover Police Officer Ilmi Bojkovic. People who donated their time to help the people who need it most throughout their communities. The day started at 5:30 a.m., volunteers showed up at the St. Therese parking lot, in Succasunna. Volunteers helped assemble boxes, organize food as it came off the 18-wheeler, fill boxes with food, load the transport truck to take food boxes to other pick-up locations, load cars with food that were in line, clean up, and so much more.

Rockaway Township Mayor Michael Puzio and Volunteer Dylan Brookes placing food in a vehicle

“I want to personally thank all the amazing volunteers that took time out of their busy schedules to come to help us. They are what made the event be able to run as smoothly as it did, and they truly make the event come to life,” said Valerie Kuglin, a local Rockaway resident and a new member of the Kiwanis Club of Rockaway Valley.

“Many people may feel like they need to humble themselves because they are asking for help, so we try to alleviate any feelings like that they might have.” Frank Cahill, Lt. Governor Division 9, New Jersey Kiwanis. To date, Kiwanis Club has distributed over 169,000 pounds of food to over 4,200 families with a retail value of over $425,000.

The crew of volunteers helping with the food distribution at Birchwood Elementary School

While we ask for families to register online, this is only for a rough estimate of how much food we need to purchase. The only person who can see that list is the club president. On the day of the distributions, families simply pull up, say if they are registered or not, then a volunteer opens either the trunk or back seat of their car, puts the box of food in, closes the door, and drives off.

Dover Police Officer and Kiwanis member Ilmi Bojkovic at Birchwood Elementary School where the food distribution took place in Rockaway

“We want people to feel as comfortable as possible. We want them to know that Kiwanis is here to help,” said Ilmi Bojkovic, who spent his day volunteering. “The economic damage brought by mass layoffs and business closures is expected to persist long after vaccines become widely available and that means demand for food assistance will remain at the current high level for months or years to come.” Cahill says, “So long as there’s a need, we will continue to do the food distributions every month.”

Bojkovic is one of the many volunteers who helped during the past few months. Senator Anthony Bucco, Morris County Sheriff James Gannon, Surrogate Heather Darling as well as other police officers, firemen, EMS workers participated in one of our locations. This is definitely a community project.

If you are interested in joining the Kiwanis Club contact Frank Cahill at (862) 346-5100 for additional information.